Unbeaten century inspires shock draw

By Gary Caffell


Cricket

A gritty unbeaten century by Harry Clinton-Baker earned Wairarapa a draw in their Hawke Cup qualifying round senior men's cricket match with Hawke's Bay in Napier during the weekend.

Clinton-Baker, 18, was 101 not out as Wairarapa reached 199-9 in their second innings after Hawke's Bay had declared their first innings closed at a massive 335-6 in reply to Wairarapa's 126.

Coming to the wicket with Wairarapa precariously placed at 41-3, Clinton-Baker showed maturity way beyond his years in recording his maiden ton for the province at senior level. All told he faced 233 balls and struck 12 fours.

Wairarapa selector-coach Sam Curtis had just the one word to describe Clinton-Baker's effort, "awesome".

Curtis has long rated the youngster, who has just completed his secondary school education at Rathkeale College, as a batsman with the technique and desire to go a long way in the game so he was not altogether surprised at his latest effort.

"He plays smart, he knows where his off stump is and what balls to leave and what balls to play. And he fights hard, he prizes his wicket."

Curtis said all the talk in the Wairarapa dressing room before the second innings commenced revolved around the need to stay patient and deprive Hawke's Bay of the outright win widely expected of a team at the head of the zone two points table.

"I guess most people were thinking they [Hawke's Bay] were home and hosed but we were determined to make them work for everything they got. Time at the crease mattered a lot more than runs."

While Clinton-Baker was obviously the mainstay of the Wairarapa second innings others like Tim Lucas, who made 13 off 101 balls, Henry Cameron, 8 off 44 balls and Ben Foster, 12 off 121 balls, were clearly dogged in their approach.

With Hawke's Bay using nine bowlers and putting down 104 overs the Wairarapa run rate was less than two runs an over, very slow going but totally understandable in the circumstances.

It would be wrong, however, to suggest it was all plain sailing with a couple of the batsmen being on the wrong end of controversial umpiring decisions and No 11 batsman Jock Cameron having to face one ball to ward off outright defeat, something he managed comfortably enough.

Earlier during a Hawke's Bay first innings in which Michael Taiaroa was 179 not out (202 balls including 25 fours and two sixes) another of the younger members of the Wairarapa squad, Stefan Hook-Sporry, impressed with the ball. He finished with 3-115 from his 26.4 overs.

Short scoreboard: Wairarapa 126 (Joe Hull 40, Tim Lucas 23) and 199-9 (Harry Clinton-Baker 101 not out) drew with Hawke's Bay 355-6 (Michael Taiaroa 179 not out, Seb Langridge 84; Stefan Hook-Sporry 3-115, Harry Greenwood 1-52, Sean Jarvis 2-51).

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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