Tech's Indy goes into overdrive

By ANENDRA SINGH - SPORTS EDITOR


Premier men

Club cricket

Not far away Jesse Ryder was smashing everything into orbit as the Wellington Firebirds trained in the nets at Nelson Park, Napier.

Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags coach Alan Hunt and his players watched on Saturday as the former Hawke's Bay batsman showed what his mindset was going into yesterday's opening four-day Plunket Shield match at the same venue.

Indika Senarathne was oblivious to Ryder's antics as he opened batting for Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys (Tech) against a depleted The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist (NOBM) in the premier men's club English-style one-day (120-over) match.

The 25-year-old Sri Lankan instead caught the attention of former Tech premier player Ryder as he smashed 220 runs from 162 balls, including 29 boundaries and four sixes against NOBM, his club last summer.

"Jesse just enjoyed watching what I was doing. He finished training and watched me," Senarathne said after spearheading Tech to a 312-run victory over the Tony Pothan-coached NOBM in the third round of competition.

Boasting a strike rate of 136, Senarathne said the NOBM bowling was "okay" but lauded his fellow opener, Bronson Meehan, for supporting him.

However, Senarathne carved up his ton with Meehan sitting on seven runs as they approached the 20th over.

Meehan went on to score 96 for an opening partnership of 312, what Tech skipper George Diack suspects is a Bay prem club record.

Senarathne's knock is the second best for the Reds. Paul Whittaker holds the record with 249 runs against NOBM about 13 years ago when Diack was trying to break into the prem side.

Former New Zealand international Brendon Bracewell, who billets Senarathne with other Bracewell Academy boys in Eskview, had advised the batsman to treat every ball as an event.

"He said if I kept scoring that way I'd reach a double hundy," Senarathne said, adding New Zealand Test Player of the Year Doug Bracewell was also watching him after finishing his net session with the Stags at the park.

"It's the best club I've played for in years. There's no pressure. They are a good bunch of boys and Craig Findlay [Tech stalwart] is looking after me very well," said Senarathne, a right-hander who scored 288 for the Mistly Cricket Club in a premier grade competition in England in 2009.

Diack said Tech got to bat first to make a game of it, considering NOBM were always going to struggle against them.

"We needed the points ... and you can win or lose a competition on bonus points at the end of the season," he said, before Tech posted 384-4 in their allotted 60 overs.

NOBM were skittled for 99 in 30 overs with no batsmen going past 25 runs.

CD squad member Stevie Smidt claimed 4-26 from 10 overs, including two maidens while right-arm medium/fast bowler Jurgen Andersen picked up three scalps for 21 runs from four overs, including a maiden. Diack said their last two matches were mediocre but Tech were expecting stiffer challenges from Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall and Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay, respectively, in the next two rounds.

The Jacob Smith-skippered Cornwall claimed a seven-wicket victory over Taradale Cricket Club at "The Lord's" No 1 pitch in Hastings.

Smith and his Taradale counterpart, Toby Doyle, agreed winning the toss effectively paved the way for the winners.

"The pitch didn't dry much because there wasn't much sun or wind," Smith said, after winning the toss and claiming 4-15 from 8.1 overs, including five maidens.

The visitors were back in the changing rooms for 105 in 48.1 overs with No 3 Callum Hewetson top scoring with 23 runs, No 7 Garry Paine adding 19 and Doyle contributing 17.

Teenager Jayden Wiggins was outstanding with his right-arm slow deliveries, claiming 2-7 from nine overs, including five maidens and so was veteran Jonathon Hall took 23-1 from 10 overs, including two maidens.

Cornwall got 108-3 in 23.1 overs with No 3 Michael Taiaroa unbeaten on 45.

Eddie Torr was Taradale's pick of bowlers with 2-29 from eight overs from his medium pacers.

Doyle was surprised at how damp and soft the wicket was in the first game on the No 1 pitch this summer.

The outfield was fine after games weren't played earlier on the ground following deep tyre ruts from a truck used to cart materials to help revamp the nets area of the club.

"It gave a lot more assistance to the bowlers so the toss of the coin was a major factor in the game," Doyle lamented.

At Anderson Park, a depleted hosts' only joy was in winning the toss after they were skittled for 126 in the 58th over.

Havelock North opener James Taylor scored 38 runs while talented schoolboy Mitchell Hammond added 27 and fellow Lindisfarne College pupil Dominic Thompson eked out 21 runs.

CHB spinner bagged his second successive five-wicket bag, claiming 5-48 from 18 overs, including a maiden.

Left-arm spinner Henry Hunter took 2-9 from four overs and right-arm offspinner Angus Schaw took 1-33 from 18 overs, including five maidens to stifle the villagers.

CHB amassed 127-4 in 32 overs for their six-wicket victory and an unblemished season, after losing in the Twenty/20 tournament final to Cornwall early this month.

Captain Scott Schaw scored 41 from 30 balls while fellow opener Hunter top scored with 43 and No 3 Angus Schaw added 20.

"It was JP's [Jared Priest's] wedding so Todd Astill and a few other players were missing from a weak Havelock side," Angus Schaw said.

"We're still undefeated and at the top of the table so that's pretty good," he said, adding their three outright victories to date was in stark contrast to sitting at the bottom of the table last summer.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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