By Jim Allnatt
Howick Pakuranga’s new Premier captain lost the toss, and visitors Birkenhead decided to bat first. The wicket and outfield was dry but didn’t look conducive to high scoring which proved to be the case.
Birkenhead faced Howick’s opening bowlers Donovan Grobbelaar and Taine Jolley, seeming quite comfortable against some tight bowling. However Grobbelaar broke through in his fourth over with the total at 16 and after that wickets fell at 20 run intervals, and the visitors were in dire straits at 94/5 after 28 overs.
The lower order was wrapped up with the addition of 38 more runs, and Birkenhead’s score of 132 did not seem nearly enough to trouble the powerful H&P batting lineup.
Adam Jones bowled ten overs straight to take 3/26 after coming on in the thirteenth over. Taine Jolley 2/15 and Bill Walsh 2/12 were the other major wicket-takers. Howick’s bowlers were supported by some very sharp fielding, which kept the visiting batsmen on their toes.
A solid start by opening pair Dan Young and Bill Walsh yielding 27 runs set the Alpaca’s on the front foot but a mid-order collapse led to four wickets falling with the score at 54. David Winn and Donovan Grobbelaar put 30 more runs on the board but both were back in the pavilion when the scoreboard read 99/6.
At this stage, the home side was in a worse position than Birkenhead had been at the same time. However, batting depth was displayed with Adam Jones making 22 not out and Liam Winn 19, taking back control and guiding Howick Pakuranga to a six-wicket win.
On paper, it appears the match was a comfortable win for the local side but in reality, Birkenhead came to play and were right in the match until Jones and Winn took control in the final overs.
The wicket was variable in pace and bounce making it difficult for batsmen to settle in, and when coupled with a cold blustery wind and overcast sky, it was a tough day at the office.
Scores: Premier Men
Marie Raos Ray White HPCC Premier Men vs Birkenhead: Birkenhead 132 all out. Adam Jones 3/26, Bill Walsh 2/12, Taine Jolley 2/15 and Rudi Botadra 1/32. Howick Pakuranga 133/6 Bill Walsh 18, Donovan Grobbelaar 22, Luke Winn 19*, Adam Jones 22*
Premier Reserves: Marie Raos Ray White HPCC Premier Reserves vs Cornwall
Howick Pakuranga 160/8: Miles Driscoll45*, Michael Greenwood 23*. Cornwall 60 all out: Connah Thompson 3/12, Cameron Hull 2/6 and Ollie Blandford 2/20 – HPCC win by 80 runs
Howick Pakuranga Third Grade vs Birkenhead; Howick Pakuranga 168 Luke Anderson 49, Joss Randhawa 49, Wayne Mackenzie 27 and Danny Mackenzie 30. Birkenhead 150: Kewal Sidhu3/20, Hershall Hendricks3/25, Connor Attwood 2/38
HPCC win by 18 runs
Howick Pakuranga Fourth Grade vs Takapuna
Howick Pakuranga 197 Braydon Toussaint 71. Takapuna 60 all out. Yohan Vesuna 5/18, Tanmay Gadkari 3/6 (including a hat trick)