Kiwis take Greycaps series to tie
Amidst the backdrop of ex-Cyclone Gita, New Zealand’s over 50s cricketers achieved what their younger Black Caps counterparts haven’t yet achieved in 2018.
The first-ever series involving the New Zealand Over-50s ended in a 1-1 series result against Australia in Nelson last week.
Originally scheduled as a three-match series, only two games were possible after inclement weather forced the second game’s cancellation on Tuesday.
New Zealand manager Jim Morrison said while both teams were disappointed not to have played at Saxton Oval, due to a date clash with Opera in the Park, the series was played ‘‘in wonderful spirit’’ on the alternative venues.
‘‘That would have been much nicer if we could have played [at Saxton] ... the pitches, partly due to weather, weren’t conducive to great cricket – that was beyond our control, but considering the Australians were very happy with the hospitality and the amount of effort that went into hosting them.’’
He was pleased with the swift progress made by the 14-strong Grey Caps squad, who had only assembled one day prior to the first game.
‘‘I think we more than competed with the Australians - we weren’t really gelling in the first game because we’d only met the day before, but by the second game we were right into it, played some good cricket and deserved to win.’’
Game one took place last Monday at Marsden Recreation Ground.
Led by a dogged 66 from Peter Solway, Australia toiled through to 151 all out, before dismissing New Zealand for 138 to win by 13 runs.
After effecting three stumpings in the field, Nelson wicketkeeper Mason Robinson steadied the Kiwi ship in a losing effort with a well-compiled 59.
Following the cancellation of Tuesday’s match at Brightwater Domain, teams had to wait until Thursday for the next fixture at Brightwater’s Conway Oval.
A damp wicket from the overnight rain made batting tricky for both teams.
A strong NZ bowling effort put the home side in charge early on, bowling the Aussies out for 116.
Solway once again top scored for the visitors with 24, while Richard Petrie played chief destroyer in picking up three wickets.
Despite a modest target, NZ looked vulnerable when a mid-order collapse left them at 65/5.
However, a 27-run contribution from man-of-the-match Petrie helped get NZ home by four wickets, with captain Nigel Fletcher finishing on 16 not out.
Andrew Nuttall was named Man of the Series for taking 4/15 and 3/14 in the two matches.
The Stirling Hamman Cup - the trophy played for between the two sides - will be on the line again when the two sides meet at the World Cup in November/December.
A 16-man World Cup squad will be named in a couple of months. Nominations can still be made at email@example.com. Players need to be aged 50 or above as of December 31, 2018 and should be playing regular cricket.
Australian batsman Peter Solway in action during the third over 50s international cricket match against NZ at Titoki Oval on Friday.