Cricket: Batsmen prove to be Central saviour

By Greg Taipari

Central reserves have managed to keep their unbeaten record intact thanks to a middle-order batting display by Shannon Smith and Rees Uerata.

Playing against Western Heights' High School in perfect conditions at Ray Boord Park, Central won the toss and elected to bat first on a hard and dry pitch to score 248 all out and bowled out Heights for just 152.

The side got away to a solid start with Ben Fraser and John Downs putting on a 27-run partnership before Fraser played at a late swinging ball to edge it to the keeper for 3. However, Pat Wheelens and Downs kept the run rate up around six an over before Downs was bowled for 23 slashing at a ball that stayed low to have Central 57/2. With the addition of Richard Downs the two batsmen looked to re-establish the innings. The pair put on a 50-run partnership before Wheelens was adjudged lbw for 21, Richard Downs was to follow four runs later when he was bowled for 26.

The next two wickets fell cheaply for Central and Heights looked to be getting on top of their older and more experienced opponents. Central looked to be teetering on a middle-order collapse with the side on 136/6, when captain Rees Uerata joined forces with Smith to put on a quick-fire 38 run partnership.

Uerata was the major contributor to the partnership scoring 30 before he was given out lbw to a ball he looked to have knicked with his bat. However the momentum swing was enough to give Smith the chance to settle and he took up the mantle of leading the strike. Smith scored a well-rounded 55, before he was caught out in the deep, with the score at 248/8. After Smith's wicket, Central folded like a house of cards with the last two batsmen unable to add to the tally.

Unfortunately for Heights, their gallant effort in the field couldn't rub off on their batting, with the side being bowled out for 152.

In the upset of the round, John Paul College claimed their first scalp of the season against Geyser, thanks to player-coach Mark Chapman, who scored an unbeaten 145.

Chapman was joined by youngsters Liam Kelly, 30, Amit Kumar, 23, and Sam Kelly, 13, who contributed with the bat.

Kelly was equally effective with the ball as well, picking up 4/41 off his eight overs. Mukund Ranchod and Mark Rigter also grabbed a couple of wickets to have Geyser all out for 159 in the 37th over. G Kirk was the only batsman to get among the runs with a well-hit 83.

Rotorua Boys' High School also managed to pick up a win against last year's reserves champions Taupo Wanderers. Batting first, Rotorua scored 181/8 in their allotted 40 overs, with L Robinson, 54, and R Gosai, 31, contributing with the bat. The best of the Wanderers were S Davies, 3/31, and B Inch, 3/54. The visitors were only able to score 166/8 with A Davey, 43, the best of the batters with Gosai grabbing two wickets for Rotorua.

Taupo College have cause to celebrate after they beat Bay of Plenty Indians at Kaimanawa Reserve at the weekend. After setting a target of 166/8 with A Keith, 49no, and M Hargreaves, 43, the best of the home side batters. The Indians could score only 159 all out with V Chhagan, 23, the best batter.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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