CHB v NTOB
NZ club champs
HUGGING THE highway to Central Hawke's Bay are the unmistakable billboards informing anyone who cares that it prides itself as beef-and-lamb country.
Not surprisingly then Ruahine Motors CHB premier cricket coach Colin Schaw had no qualms about showing some country hospitality with a feast of meat patties and sausages for Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB) after one of his bulls injured its leg and had to be put down on his livestock farm.
Needless to say, despite the festive spirit of Christmas beckoning, that generosity didn't extend to what was about to transpire at the picturesque Ongaonga Domain, near Otane, when CHB played NTOB in the National Club One-Day Knockout Championship qualifying match on Saturday.
If Tech captain George Diack and his boys thought they would roll down to the park and return with the right to fly the Bay flag this summer then they had another thing coming.
The Scott Schaw-skippered hosts had other ideas as Tech, the fancied 2012-13 English style 120-over champions, became lambs to the slaughter.
What started as ideal conditions for a limited-overs match quickly became a Duckworth-Lewis Method affair as rain kicked in in the 20th over of Tech's innings as they tried to chase down CHB's 220-7 from 50 overs.
Deservedly, CHB fans gave No3 James Mackie a standing ovation after he carried his bat for an unbeaten 101 from 118 balls, including a dozen boundaries and a six.
"In Tech's 20th over it didn't stop raining so the umpires pulled the pin," Scott Schaw said.
"At that stage they were 69 for 5 so we were looking pretty good," Schaw said.
While CHB would have gained more satisfaction in "going out there and bowling them [NTOB] out", they were happy to have earned the right to carry on the national club champs campaign.
"It was an awesome day and we were definitely the two top teams playing but we'll take anything we can get because a win's a win.
"It's the first time this season the boys have actually turned up to put on a complete performance," he said.
Tech's Indika Senarathne caused all sorts of problems for the CHB batsmen, returning the excellent figures of 1-15 from 10 overs, including four maidens.
Liam Rukuwai, Jurgen Andersen and Bronson Meehan claimed two wickets each but all of them went for more than four runs an over.
NTOB boosted CHB's total with 41 extras, including 24 wides.
For CHB, English import Paul Hindmarch and Driaan Lubbe claimed two scalps each but they brought in spinners Angus Schaw and Toby Richardson to eat up the 20 overs required to constitute a match.
Opener Diack top-scored with 22 while No 7 Craig Herrick was unbeaten on 10 and veteran Craig Findlay not out 2.
Ultimately NTOB top-order batsmen just hadn't done enough to look like overhauling the target, although Findlay's experience would have made it interesting.
"Tech have definitely dominated for the last 10 years and we've looked up to them so to finally beat them was good."
Mindful Wairarapa are depleted after the exodus of several key players from the region, Scott Schaw said they felt 2002 NZ club champions NTOB were always their major hurdle.
CHB will host the Wairarapa qualifiers at Ongaonga Domain mid-next month but were not getting ahead of themselves before the top qualifiers compete at a two-day play-off in Palmerston North in February to decide who will be the Central Districts representative in Auckland at the club nationals.
"Since 1997 it'll easily be the biggest game we'll host here [against Wairarapa] so it'll be a big day for the club," Schaw said.
A disappointed Diack said they were praying for rain because a stoppage before the 20 overs would have meant a no result and the opportunity of a replay.
"They were trying to up the over rate and we were trying to slow things down," he said, emphasising CHB had three spinners so Angus Schaw and Richardson came into the equation with aplomb.
"It was quite stupid the way things panned out but that's cricket because the law of the game says 20 overs constitute a game and CHB were fired up for the game and we weren't."
Diack bemoaned letting CHB score their total when he felt they shouldn't have got past 180 runs, considering they had outplayed the hosts a fortnight ago in their 120-over match.
"Mackie nicked a ball to slip, which fell just short, when he was on a duck.
"I'm not trying to take anything away from him because he batted superbly and made it look so easy but we bowled badly, too."
Diack said the wicket appeared to be a 10-day-old one whereas if the game was staged at Nelson Park (Tech's homeground) than it would have been a 300-run innings.
"We're disappointed we won't be going to Auckland but, hey, there's always next year."