Taranaki's top club deliver batting lesson

By Jared Smith

The gulf between Wanganui cricket's top club side and their northern neighbours played out its latest chapter at Victoria Park on Saturday.

Local one-day champions Wanganui United were game and indeed motivated against their Taranaki counterparts New Plymouth Marist United, but in the final reckoning came about 50 runs short of really pushing their neighbours, who in workmanlike fashion pushed through to their 226 target for a deserved five-wicket win.

Marist United, who went all the way to third in the national club finals last year, continued Taranaki's domination of the local inter-association clash in recent years.

"They're a good batting side, that's for sure," said stand-in Wanganui United captain Gerard Hobbs, who had played well by sharing a 50-run opening partnership with Max Carroll and taking a couple of wickets in the latter half of Marist's chase.

Carroll carried on through, being dismissed after a determined 86 in the 48th over, with no one else contributing more than some productive 20s and 30s.

"We put up a fight. The guys just didn't put enough runs on the board," said Hobbs.

He felt against a squad top heavy with Taranaki representative players and having added Central District's batsman Dean Robinson, his team's relative parity in the bowling department could not offset the strength of opening batsmen.

Firstly Jason Meuli made an aggressive 50 and then Robinson continued with 70 as Marist United reached their target in the 48th over.

On a flat track Wanganui United wanted first use of the willow and had an excellent start as Hobbs and Carroll found the boundary line regularly.

However, the innings turned shaky at 66-2 in the 17th over as Marist's Jarred Cunningham and Leith Johnston entered the attack.

First Hobbs skied one to be caught for 28, and then leading hope Tom Lance lost his middle stump for only one.

Carroll carried his bat through but Wanganui United could not really hit out, folding their tent at 226-8.

A brief shower caused little disruption other than seeing an early lunch, with all 50 overs still completed.

Meuli and Robinson then set the stage for the home team's demise with an 89-run opening stand.

Meuli was the senior partner by swinging his broad shoulders through in several authoritive smacks to the boundary and sometimes over it.

Hobbs looked to stop the rot and when he picked up Meuli caught and bowled, followed by a Brendan Walker catch off his bowling and just missing a second bowler's catch shortly after.

However, Robinson stroked his way to 50 and had carried the visitors through to 130-2 by the 31st over.

Wanganui United made them work for the final 100 runs, snaffling three more wickets, but the result was never really in doubt.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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