Cricket: Captain's half ton clincher

By Greg Taipari

Thanks to a captain's knock of 58 by Shaquille Graham, Rotorua Boys' High School have secured this year's Rotorua Reserve Grade Cricket title.

Playing on a flat Ray Boord Park pitch, Rotorua compiled 204/9 against John Paul College, who battled hard in sweltering conditions at the weekend.

Along with Graham's half century, his third in three weeks, he was helped along by team-mates Luke Robinson 26, and Lasith Goonitilaka 25.

The pitch offered little assistance to the John Paul College bowlers but they grafted, with Liam Kelly 3/16, Mukund Ranchod 3/44 and Mark Rigter 2/54 the best performers.

John Paul College were in trouble early, when opener Amit Kumar nicked the third ball of the first over to Robinson at first slip.

It meant Rigter was at the crease a lot earlier than he was expecting, especially after player/coach Mark Chapman couldn't come to the crease after injuring himself in the field during Rotorua's turn at bat.

Rigter and opener Mukund Ranchod had to toil hard for the next 18 or so overs.

Although the pair struggled at first to keep the run rate up, eventually their stout shot-making, along with the sweltering heat, appeared to be getting on top of the Rotorua bowlers and fielders.

Then in stepped 12-year-old Hayze Perham. The youngster, who has been magical with the bat, showed that like his older brothers Chance and Shayde he is equally effective with the ball, and just before the drinks break he had the wicket of Ranchod, who was clearly upset with himself as he left the field.

Although Rigter would battle on and top score for his side with 36, he couldn't find a partner and the side were able to score only 142/9 in their allotted 40 overs. Rotorua's Shayde Perham was the best of the bowlers with figures of 3/20.

Chapman said the competition had been a success for the four high school teams taking part, giving players a chance to learn the psychological side of the game and develop mental toughness.

Rotorua share the title with last year's champions, Taupo Wanderers.

The Wanderers hosted Central at Kaimanawa Reserve. Batting first Central were bowled out for 150, which the Taupo side managed to chase down.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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