Cricket: Perham leads comeback

By Greg Taipari

Rotorua Central reserves cricket team have fired a warning shot to their opponents - they are still a force to be reckoned with after a five-wicket romp over Bay of Plenty Indians.

However, Geyser City have taken up the challenge, moving into the lead of the Rotorua Reserve 40 Over Series after beating Taupo Wanderers in a top-of-the-table clash at Ray Boord Park.

With three rounds remaining, Geyser lead the competition with 18 points, followed by Wanderers (12), Central (6) and Indians (0).

After a couple of weeks of under-achieving by the Central top-order batsmen, the side came back with a roar, thanks to a beautifully-hit 117 by Shayde Perham and 59 from opener Ben Fraser.

The pair were helped along by Dave Hunt 39 and Jonny Downs 30. Central went on to make 319/5 in their allotted 40 overs.

Perham's innings was a mixture of hard hitting to the boundary, beautifully placed shots between fieldsmen and quick running between the wickets.

His innings was backed by a solid hit half-century from Fraser, who uncharacteristically brought up his 50 with a pull for six.

Central's momentum was only halted by S. Bist, who grabbed two wickets for 40 runs.

The Indians offered little resistance, being bowled out for 131 in the 26th over. B. Das was the only batter of note with a well-struck 76.

Central's bowlers shared in the wicket-taking with Perham again on the honours list with 2/13, Rees Uerata 2/26, Niwhai Tainui 2/1 and Richard Downs 2/26.

Captain Uerata said it was a great effort from his top order.

"I just told the boys to go out there and do what they do, play the right balls and with the right text," Uerata said.

"I think the last two weeks chasing the scores, they've been a bit hesitant in what they're trying to achieve and that's why I just tried to tell them to go out there relax and enjoy themselves."

He said the side hadn't worried much about the two recent losses.

"I'm not too sure the guys felt that much pressure because the last two teams we've lost to, they are very good units. I know Ben felt a little bit of pressure for this one. But it's just about self-confidence in your ability. He likes to use the pace and work it around, and Jonny - just does Jonny," Uerata said.

"Obviously, Shayde starting out with us after Christmas, it's good to see him get some good time at the crease."

In the other match of the round Geyser again showed their class in beating Taupo. After being sent in to bat, Geyser scored 238/6 off 40 overs.

The highlight in the batting was Josh Lee's 85, backing up from his 83 last week against the Indians. Lee was helped by his captain Karl McKnight (41) and Graham Kirk (34).

The Wanderers were bowled out for 204 in the 39th over.

Lee grabbed a couple of wickets for 36, with Glenn Rumble and Ben Dyson taking three wickets apiece.

Taupo fell 35 runs short of the total and were bowled out for 204 in the 38th over. Bain Inch was the best of the batsmen, scoring 59, with Carl Robb and Michael Hargreaves making 36 and 23 respectively.

Geyser won the Grantleys Liquor Merchants Challenge Cup from the Wanderers. The cup is a new addition to senior reserve grade cricket and was introduced at the start of this competition round.

The Wanderers had successfully defended it against Indians and then Central last week.

The cup is like the Ranfurly Shield, and the team holding it has to defend it every time they play a club team in the Rotorua Senior Reserve competition.

The next challenge will be on February 9 when Geyser play Central.

McKnight said he was proud of the effort his team put in at the weekend.

"It was a good game, obviously they hadn't lost since Christmas and neither had we and there was that new shield up for grabs, too, so it was all on ... and, yeah, it was a good game."

McKnight said the team had performed well considering they were constantly rotating players.

"We've kind of got a good squad. Where we use the word rotation policy, we are never at full strength ...

"Most of us just go out there and enjoy and love the competitiveness of it all."

The competition takes a break this weekend with Ray Boord Park being used for an event. However, McKnight said his side would play a preliminary round for the McNaughton Trophy on Sunday against Greerton Reserves.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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