Hunters' defence off to fine start

By Iain Hyndman

The Auroa Fossil Hunters made a sterling start to defend their title in the New Zealand Masters Games in Wanganui yesterday.

The South Taranaki team won gold at the games two years ago and were looking to go back-to-back this time round.

Play was abandoned on Tuesday because of heavy rain, but yesterday the Auroa Fossil Hunters made the most of the sunny conditions at Springvale Park to dispatch Wanganui Marist Evergreens in the first of three matches scheduled in the rejigged programme.

Fielding first, the Hunters were left chasing 130 runs to win the match and made it with two wickets in hand and three overs to spare in the Twenty20 format.

Team organiser/player John McCarty said this was the third New Zealand Masters Games tour for the team, with the debut in 2009 yielding a bronze medal despite remaining unbeaten throughout the tournament.

"There were three teams unbeaten and it came down to run rate and we ended up with bronze - a bit disappointing really," McCarty said.

"But at the last games in Wanganui [2011] we won gold."

The Hunters are mainly dairy farmers or associated industry workers so are quite used to producing liquid gold in the form of milksolids, but they are again seeking the precious metal in solid form this year.

McCarty said the team were "pretty much the same" as they were when they started masters, "although we do have four newcomers this year".

"Most of us play club cricket at home for either the Pihama or Auroa clubs."

Like some of his team mates, McCarty had also registered for other sports at the Wanganui games and medals had already come their way.

"We arrived on Sunday to play pentanque, but being the second day we weren't in the hunt for medals. But while we were at the village some of us registered for the novice table tennis played yesterday [Tuesday] and Karl Picard and I won gold,' Mccarty said.

He is also registered for euchre, Texas hold 'em and sport accuracy.

"And if there were medals going for time spent in the village tent we give that serious crack too. We've been kicked out every night since we got here, so far - at closing time, though," he said.

The Auroa Fossil Hunters were also to play the Hunterville Hackers and the Village Greenies, a Feilding side that also include players from Auckland and Palmerston North, yesterday.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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