As their end-of-season prizegiving was cancelled, the Whanganui Chronicle has spotlighted Cricket Wanganui's junior representative teams. This concludes today with the Under 12 side.
The Under 12 Wanganui team had another excellent season with great results, but more importantly, said spokesman Paul Keenan, showed great growth within the team and extended squad.
The Steve Meredith-coached side began the season with a warm up against South Taranaki, followed by the Hawke's Bay Riverbend tournament and then some local fixtures against the representative teams of Horowhenua Kapiti, Wairarapa and North Taranaki.
Rain and Covid-19 saw an early finish to a season in which they played 10 matches, winning seven.
"A lot of close games but all of the players contributed vital efforts during the season and it is great to see a team that can have any of the players stand up and put in match winning performances," said Keenan.
It was a solid first up victory against South Taranaki with Wanganui winning by 20 runs, as batsman Hector Hewitt got to retire his innings on debut, while Josh Keenan got 24 runs and took three catches.
Ryan Meredith with 20 runs and two wickets, along with Aiden Muir's 24 runs and two wickets, were the other standouts.
Wet weather meant the team next played together at the Riverbend tournament, starting with Upper Hutt.
A dominant bowling effort saw them reduce Upper Hutt to 75/11, but in a nail-biting finish, Wanganui made 77/10 to just scrape in, with Darcy Wilson having a great match to take 3-7 with the ball and then hit the winning runs as part of the last pair at the crease.
The next game was against North City, with Wanganui setting a competitive 163 on the back of innings by Peter George (36) and Aiden Muir (35), and then bowling tightly to win by 20 runs, as Diego Coleman took 2-15.
It was another win to follow against Onslow, as again Wanganui batted first and made a competitive 144/10, off a great start by opener Rory Nugent-O'Leary (22), followed by a powerful partnership between Angus Allpress (28) and Jimmy Lithgow (39 off 27 balls).
Muir and Allpress claimed two wickets each to restrict Onslow to 128/7.
Wanganui's next match was much tougher against a tournament Invitational XI.
The opposition batsmen got off to a flyer and Paul Keenan said 300 was looking possible, until Lithgow put on a season-best bowling performance with figures of 4-5 off four overs.
Well supported by tight bowling from Harrison Richmond, Wanganui pulled the Invitational XI back to 153.
In reply, Wanganui lost too many wickets to be in the hunt, but some entertaining late hitting by Riley Sommerville (28 off 14) brought some respectability to the total, all out for 128.
Wanganui were straight back into it against Taupo, batting first and posting an imposing 175/6.
Josh Keenan (28), Muir (46) and some more late fireworks by Sommerville (29) led the way.
In reply, Taupo folded meekly for 51 with Allpress and Coleman starring in the field and with the ball.
The final Riverbend tournament match was against Collegians, who batted first and made 121/7 of their 30 overs, restricted by a good all round display from Wanganui.
The batting chase proved to be similar to the first game and a real nail-biter, as Allpress (30) and Josh Keenan (23) had the key innings to get their team to the win with 2.2 overs to spare.
Coming back for the local representative fixtures, Wanganui hosted Horowhenua Kapiti at Victoria Park for a 40 over match that proved a thriller.
Wanganui raised 214/8, with three batsmen retired in Muir (33), Josh Keenan (27) and Lithgow (25), and while the match ebbed and flowed, Horowhenua Kapiti reached their target in the last over and down to the final pair.
Meredith and the Lithgow's – Jimmy and Hunter – bowled well to nearly restrict the visitors in their first 40 over game.
The next match was against Wairarapa who batted first to make 125/7 in 35 overs, with Sommerville and Blake Sollitt the pick of the Wanganui bowlers.
Wanganui rattled off the runs in 25 overs, thanks to a quick fire 46 from Jimmy Lithgow, with support from Josh Keenan (24).
The final game of the season was against North Taranaki in New Plymouth, who batted first and were on track to a daunting score, before being bowled out 236.
Muir, Allpress and George took two wickets each to mop up the innings, while Nugent-O'Leary, Reagan Carver and Hector Hewins helped put the brakes on.
Unfortunately, the batting effort was poor with Wanganui bowled out for 100, which was propped up by an excellent 44 from Coleman.
Paul Keenan said a special thank you to the parents of the team this season.
"Without your support and enjoyment of the team and the cricket they play, it wouldn't have been the success it was.
"Good luck to the cricketers in their growth into high school cricket and we look forward to next season."
MVP: Aiden Muir
Best batsman: Jimmy Lithgow
Best bowler: Blake Sollitt
Most Improved: Peter George