Youngsters pick off target

By Jared Smith

The young guns of Wanganui cricket taught the military men a thing or two at Victoria Park yesterday.

An eight-wicket win against the New Zealand Defence Forces XI was a welcome boost in confidence for several of the Young Wanganui XI who are looking to break into or cement their spots in the senior representative squad for next season and beyond.

The match was moved to the No2 pitch to give what coach Dilan Raj called, with some understatement, the "tired" No1 a rest and certainly the youngsters played to home conditions.

NZDF holed out for a paltry 135, with the chief wicket takers being Henry Collier (3), captain Dominic Lock (2) and Sam O'leary (2). "They were just going for it off the spinners," said Lock. "On a slow pitch, they probably didn't move their feet enough."

It made for an early mid-afternoon finish as after John McIlraith (27) made early inroads, it fell to vice-captain Ben Smith (51no) and Craig Thorpe (36no) to pick off the meagre target in good order. Smith hoisted a couple of sixes late in the innings to make sure he got his half century as well as the winning runs.

The NZDF team was made up of six Air Force, five Army, and one Navy personnel members selected following the annual triangular tournament in Palmerston North the week before won by the Air Force for the 13th straight year.

Three or four of the better Air Force players were unavailable but the team was still of a good standard of those playing regular club cricket.

Raj said Young Wanganui were looking to get one more game this season in Nelson, if the trip could be arranged within current financial limitations.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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