A clinical batting chase from Westech Automotive Maungakaramea's top order has earned the premier team their third win of the 2019 Lion Red Cup.
Playing on a pristine grass wicket at Kensington Park on Saturday, Maungakaramea were successful in chasing down Kensington Tavern Onerahi Central's first innings total of 179, doing so in under 32 overs in their round-five Lion Red Cup 40-over fixture.
Maungakaramea opening batsman Chris Page was in fine form again with an unbeaten 74, off the back of two scores of 96 and 102 in the last two weeks. Page, in tandem with opener Tom Lovegrove and returning university student Thorn Parkes, comfortably reached Onerahi's total with just two wickets down.
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"We didn't bowl as well as we can do but we certainly bowled to fields that were set, and then batting wise when you track 179 down and get the bonus point, you know your top order has done the job," Maungakaramea captain and coach Neal Parlane said.
Playing on what he described as the best Kensington Park pitch he's ever seen in November, Parlane said he was comfortable with Onerahi's total, with only Cole Jakicevich-Roberts and Fletcher Coutts making scores of note, with 50 and 41 respectively.
Parlane credited bowlers Bhavik Patel, who bowled eight consecutive overs into the wind for his two wickets, and Mark Andrianatos who came in to bowl at the death.
"[Andrianatos] had a really set plan in his end and we set the fields to it, and he bowled beautifully and got three wickets."
Parlane said he was happy to see his top four batsman firing - including Page, who had found his rhythm after a few weeks of hardship earlier in the season.
"[Page] played a rash shot against a team about four weeks ago and I sat him down and said, 'you're a good enough player not to have to play those sort of shots'."
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"He's just batted really nicely and he's done nothing wrong really."
With Northland's top men's team set to play their first game of the season in Hamilton on Saturday, Parlane hoped his team's depth would come to the fore against FMG Northern at home on the same day.
In the other games of round five, Kaipara Flats continued their unbeaten run this year with a tight 19-run win at their home ground of Bourne Dean Domain. Taking on visitors Duracrete Products City, Kaipara started poorly with the bat, flailing at 19 for 3 inside five overs.
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It wasn't until No 3 batsman Michael O'Flaherty and No 5 Byron Jollivet came together that Kaipara started to add to their total. Jollivet top-scored with an unbeaten 67 and with two scores of 37 from O'Flaherty and Sean Mee, the home team finished at 184 for 7 after their 40 overs.
Poor catching plagued City in the back end of their bowling innings but similar errors from Kaipara became City's saviour early in their batting as Kaipara put down two simple chances early on.
City's No 3 batsman James Banicevich seemed to be leading the charge with a run-a-ball 50 but when he fell for 64 in the 21st over, Kaipara tightened the screws on the visitors as City fell 19 runs short, bowler Liam Jones proving most effective with three wickets for 24 runs from his eight overs.
FMG Northern also pulled off an impressive win over Motel Sierra Kamo on Saturday at the Kamo Recreation Ground. Reducing the home side to 67 for 6 after 16 overs, Northern eventually bowled Kamo out for 125 inside 33 overs.
Northern player/coach Harry Darkins was outstanding with the ball, taking five wickets for 21 runs off his eight overs, as only Kamo opener David Armitt could withstand the Northern barrage with the ball, scoring 44.
In reply, Northern were shaky early on losing three wickets inside seven overs but thanks to consistent performers Nick Hammond and Sam Webb, the visitors came back strongly with the pair making 83 for the fourth wicket.
Despite a worrying three-wicket collapse with only one run needed, Northern hung on to chase down the total in the 35th over with eight wickets down.
Round six fixtures (November 9, 50-over, 10.30am start)
Westech Automotive Maungakaramea v FMG Northern at Maungakaramea Domain 1
Kaipara Flats v Kensington Tavern Onerahi Central at Bourne Dean Domain 1
Motel Sierra Kamo v Duracrete Products City at Kamo Recreation Ground 1