Cricket: Comeback kids prosper

By Cameron Leslie

"It's like I've been a car crash." Those are the words of regret from Northland cricket coach, and now player-coach for his Whangarei Boys' High School team, Stephen Cunis.

The 35-year-old Cunis took one for the team during day one of Boys' High's two-day match as he made his comeback to cricket after a five-year hiatus from all forms.

"We were a couple short," laughed Cunis, who played 32 first-class matches taking 79 wickets at an average of 28.68. "The boys have been beaten up a bit in the last two or three games."

In Cunis' comeback, which he is adamant is only temporary, on Saturday he took five for 26 from 16 overs on the trot as City were dismissed for 87. And yesterday he was feeling it.

Cunis said he bowled the overs on the trot because he thought his body wouldn't take too kindly to a second spell if it was given a rest.

"It was my first game for five bloody years and I'm feeling it this morning," said Cunis of his comeback in the final round of the Oxford Trust two-day competition. "There's been some guys out there who aren't that great of cricketers scoring more runs than they should against us.

"So JC [John Child] said to me 'we need to play' [because Boys' High had lost a couple of seventh formers], so he talked me into it."

Child also made a fleeting comeback as he took four for 14 off 10 tidy overs, the two comeback kids combining for figures of nine for 40 off 26 overs.

In response to City's 87, Boys' High were at 207 for seven at the close of play with a lead of 120 and the final day due next weekend.

Cunis again was in action as he scored a quick 32 with the bat as Sam Clotworthy played a mature innings to be 90 not out.

In other Oxford Trust two-day matches, Kaipara were rolled for 174 by Maungakaramea as Rory Christopherson top scored with 31 in his gritty innings.

However, in response, Maungakaramea could manage only 94, with Bert Horner playing well for his 42.

The powerful Maungakaramea batting line-up couldn't support Horner and had no answer to Kaipara's slow bowlers as Mike O'Flaherty and Jordan Kose picked up four wickets apiece.

Kaipara will start their second innings next week with a handy 80-run lead and 10 wickets in hand, leaving them in the box seat and poised to secure a place in the final in a few weeks' time.

In Onerahi's match against Kamo, the table-topping Onerahi side dominated day one as they declared on 301 for seven. Henry Cooper (90) was again in the thick of it but was overshadowed by teammate Chris Harrison, who chipped in with 94.

In response Kamo stumbled to 50 for two at the close of play with Ben Hyde not out on 26.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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