Finishing year as 50-over champions
Finally the weather played its part for the final of the 50-over Waikato Valley competition which saw Hinuera win the Mike Cotter Trophy.
The grass pitch at St Pauls in Hamilton was picture perfect for what would be a close encounter between the home side and visitors Hinuera.
This was the first time in three years that Hinuera had progressed to the final and there was no doubt they were on a mission from the start.
Winning the toss, St Pauls elected to bat which probably played into the hands of the Hinuera pace bowlers. While wides were reasonably plentiful in the early overs, it was also clear there was plenty of movement and swing.
Jason Rusk took the first wicket in the 4th over and struck again in the 12th over to have both openers gone and only 46 runs on the board. Wickets fell at regular intervals and the hosts found themselves 5 down with only 89 runs after 23 overs.
Two wickets by Alan Tappin ensured any partnerships were short lived. Local boy Eddie Sclater anchored one end and battled to 30 runs after 90 balls, proving to be the pick of the batters.
Using the spinner Ian Marshall to get key break throughs and some amazing fielding saw St Pauls dismissed for 148 after 40 overs. Marshall 2 -24 off 8, Tappin 2 – 32 off his 10 and Rusk 2- 21 off 6.
So with runs on the board, Hinuera needed a good start with the pace attack, knowing that they would have a barrage spinners later in the innings.
Again it was Scott Mitchell that provided the steady, careful approach while Wilson, Dhiman and Tappin came and went. Tappin added a quick fire 24 off 15 of balls before being bowled.
Joined by Anthony Marsh, these two formed a 50-run partnership before Mitchell was bowled for a hard earned 24 runs. At 96 and 4 wickets down, the 148 seemed to be a long way off for nervous spectators, compounded by very tight spin bowling by St Pauls.
Anthony Marsh and David Scholtz steadied things and punished any bad ball they could with Marsh falling on 30.
Schultz continued to work hard while wickets fell at the other end and was rewarded with hitting the winning four to finish not out on 38.
Hinuera 7 was wickets down and reached the total in the 40th over. This was a game of ebbs and flows with some key moments for both teams, 3 run outs suggested how desperately both teams wanted this win.
St Pauls have played in the final for the last three years and have not been able to secure the Mike Cotter Trophy. Credit to Hinuera for holding their nerve and finishing 2016 as 50-over champions. The 2017 season sees teams move into the two day cricket.
Hinuera Cricket Team won the Mike Cotter trophy.