Park plays witness to another commanding double century

By ANENDRA SINGH sports editor

Craig Findlay

Senior men's club cricket

In hindsight, Craig Findlay is over the moon he doesn't have Ken Rutherford's snout.

In just the third ball of the senior men's match, the Napier Technical Old Boys batsman hooked a bouncer off teenager Jonty Strong which grazed his hooter at Cornwall Park, Hastings, on Saturday.

"The ball just flicked my nose and went over Desy [Rhia's] hand," a laughing Findlay said in the match against Peak Plumbing & Gas Cornwall.

Little did the 41-year-old know the bouncer was perhaps giving him a whiff of a double century on the No 3 wicket of a park where the bumper crop of runs continues.

"Luckily I didn't have Kenny Rutherford's nose, eh?" said Findlay after scoring an unbeaten 212.

Having started his tenure as the Hawke's Bay Cricket CEO before Christmas, he opened the batting to carve up 21 boundaries and 13 sixes to help NTOB to a total of 374-4 with Mike Pawson adding 57.

Outgoing Lindisfarne College pupil Strong, who is off to Waikato University, sprayed five wides and four leg byes in succession to concede 27 runs before finding his rhythm and line.

"Jonty's a strong, young lad and asked after my health but I told him the ball had only grazed me," Findlay said.

In reply, the hosts managed 276-8 with Eddie Bostock, an Englishman and lawyer who recently settled in the Bay, top scored with 104 runs with Matt Wiggins chimed in with 79 runs but it wasn't enough in the 98-run defeat.

Findlay said the first ton was "scratchy" with a few inside edges but he had got hold of a few shots in the pursuit of the second century.

"Pawsy came in and said to me I could get a double so I said to him I had to find a few boundaries if I wanted to because it was a bloody hot day out there."

While Cornwall club had an "old timers' day" on Saturday Findlay suspected a few of them had snuck on to the field with the likes of Rihia, Des Taiaroa (Bay/Cornwall rep Michael Taiaroa's father) and Rob Poulgrain on a day that had a few father-and-son combinations playing.

Findlay lauded Cornwall park as one of his favourite venues and the hospitality as second to none from the hosts.

"We have a good wicket and a fast outfield due to the jolly weather," Cornwall director of cricket David Black said, praising Hastings District Council groundsman Dave Wild for his stellar craft.

Only last month, a Lindisfarne College first XI batsman scored an unbeaten 205 to smash the record of the highest individual innings registered at the park in their 161-run victory over Central Hawke's Bay.

The inaugural record-holder at the park is Lloyd Singleton.

The 71-year-old retired Hastings sharebroker and investment adviser scored 201 in 1964 in the two-day "senior" [top grade in those days but premier now] match for Old Boys' Hastings against rivals Whakatu Mahora.

After Singleton's double, Poulgrain's brother, Don, is understood to have scored an unbeaten 200 at another venue but since then several players have scored double tons.

Findlay said former English professional Paul Whitaker, who lives in Napier, scored 249 not out in the late 1990s for NTOB.

Last October Sri Lankan-born NTOB batsman Indika Senarathne scored 220 from 162 balls, including 29 boundaries and four sixes against his former club, The Station Napier Old Boys' Marist.

Old Boys' Hastings and Whakatu Mahora clubs combined in 1989 to become Cornwall Cricket Club.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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