Northland cricket's newest club, FMG Northern Cricket Club, tasted defeat in its first premier grade game against Motel Sierra Kamo on Saturday.
After a decent amount of rain in the morning, Northern elected to bat on an artificial wicket at Kensington Park in their Lion Red Cup round two fixture. While they showed some promise in making 132 for 5 off their 40 overs, Northern could not contain Kamo, who chased down the total inside 24 overs, four wickets down.
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Northern, a side made up primarily of high school students and a handful of older players, struggled to score quickly throughout their innings and didn't register a single boundary.
Northern's slow run rate was thanks in part to a long outfield and some tight bowling from the opposition. Despite not taking any wickets, Kamo captain Ben Hyde was very effective with the ball, only conceding 13 runs from his eight overs.
Northern overseas pro Nick Hammond stood up with the bat as he scored a dogged 52 off 105 balls before being run out by Hyde off his own bowling.
With the bat, Kamo had no such troubles with the run rate after an early wobble which saw the team 63 for 4 after Kamo's Max Turner departed. Hyde, batting at number five, and number six batsman Curtis Cherrington formed a strong partnership to chase the total down, the latter scoring 44 off 35 balls.
A large number of Northern's players returned to Northland late on Friday night from Australia after many had taken part in a Northland secondary schools development tour in Melbourne.
"It's hard when you've only been training with five or six boys and you haven't gelled yet as a squad but for a first hit out as a team, I was quite pleased with the way we went," Northern player/coach Harry Darkins said.
"To be fair, Kamo bowled really well and the field they had set made it hard for us to score, especially for a boundary option."
Darkins said he was glad to see the top half of his batting order have some time in the middle, which he hoped would pay off later in the season.
"I think we'll be the dark horse in this competition, some teams might take us a bit lightly and that will work in our favour."
In the other games of round one, Duracrete Products City won a tight encounter against Kensington Tavern Onerahi Central at Kensington Park. City, who amassed 213 for 4 after 40 overs, were almost caught by the opposition who got within two runs after 40 overs, finishing at 211 for 9.
Westech Automotive Maungakaramea also went down to a tough Kaipara Flats outfit who bowled out the home side at the Maungakaramea Domain for 103 after 33 overs. The visitors made hard work of the chase though, claiming the win after 35 overs and seven wickets down.