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Musings from Beyond the Boundary – 1 October

Musings from beyond the boundary – cricketing thoughts through the eyes of Trevor Auger, an Auckland Cricket Society and Supporters Club Member.

The Aces have returned from their pre-season excursion to the Gold Coast with three narrow losses to their name, but some very valuable match practice under their belts. We mentioned last week the one run loss to the Queensland Bulls – the last two matches were against the Scottish national side, to whom they went down by 19 runs and then by  3 wickets.

In the first of those games Auckland recovered from the early loss of Michael Guptill-Bunce and Robbie O’Donnell, thanks in large part to a century from Glenn Phillips who finished with 106 from 107 balls. Phillips was helped along by Ben Horne with 78 and Michael Barry with 43, but the Aces effort ended on 292, leaving them 19 short of Scotland’s tally.

In the second match Auckland batted first and this time Craig Cachopa led the way with 75, helped along by O’Donnell who made up for his duck in the previous match with a good half century. The runs weren’t quite enough however, and Scotland overhauled the Aces’ 254 in the 48th over.

All in all, a good warm-up for the season ahead – particularly for the batsmen, most of whom had some worthwhile time at the crease.

Two more Auckland players are showing the way in India where once again the New Zealand A team have made a disappointing start in the second unofficial ‘test’ against India A.  The first match ended in defeat by an innings and 31 runs, with only Jeet Raval, George Worker and Tim Seifert passing 20 in either innings.  Now in the first innings of the second and final first class match of the tour, New Zealand A has been dismissed for 211.

This time Colin Munro top-scored with 65, supported by Raval with 48, and Tim Seifert was also in the runs again with an unbeaten 44. It has been disappointing to see the likes of Henry Nicholls and Will Young struggling to make an impact with the bat.  They have both been seen as candidates to fill spaces, present and future, in the New Zealand middle order but neither are playing with the consistency and authority necessary to ink their names into the test squad for the West Indies test matches in two months’ time.

In England the County Championship has come to a close with First Division winners Essex finishing their campaign unbeaten, taking the title for the first time in 25 years.  At the other end of the competition Warwickshire and Middlesex have been relegated to the Second Division, being replaced in the upper echelon by Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire.

Amongst the New Zealanders involved over the English summer, Jeetan Patel yet again demonstrated his all round worth for Warwickshire, finishing the season with 608 runs at 27.6 alongside 41 wickets at 29.8, all from 13 first class matches.

For the champions, Neil Wagner played ten matches and also made an important all round contribution, averaging 24.2 with the bat and claiming 31 wickets, albeit a little expensively at 35.3.

Up north in Durham, Tom Latham’s New Zealand commitments and then his foot injury limited his summer to four first class outings, but in those matches he included two hundreds in his 382 runs at 63.7.

 

Not so much in the headlines, Adam Milne played five matches for Kent, averaging 20.2 with the bat but taking just 13 wickets at 44 runs apiece. For Middlesex, James Franklin scored 296 runs at 22.8 in his ten matches, adding 12 wickets at 23.3 for good measure, while at Gloucestershire Kieran Noema-Barnett’s record was very similar: 291 runs at 22.4 and 23 wickets at 32.0.

Former Auckland Ace Matt Quinn, who had an encouraging start to his second season with Essex, was sidelined by a back injury in June and he didn’t play again during the season – he is targeting a 2018 return.

Back home last week, Sir Richard Hadlee launched his new book ‘The Skipper’s Diary’ at a very enjoyable function at Eden Park. Sir Richard has compiled the book from father Walter’s diary of the 1949 tour of England, when New Zealand tied the test series with England (all four encounters being drawn) and lost only one of the 32 tour matches.

The book is lavishly put together with a fascinating collection of photographs as well as the extraordinarily detailed diary of Walter Hadlee, which covers the tour both on and off the field. It offers a compelling insight into touring Britain shortly after the end of the Second World War with what has justifiably been regarded as one of New Zealand Cricket’s most outstanding teams.

It is clear that bringing this work to completion has been a labour of love and dedication for Sir Richard, a heartfelt tribute not only to his father but to all his father’s colleagues who became known as ‘The Forty-Niners’. In a delightful touch at the launch, the author presented copies of the book to family members of several of the 1949 team, a gesture he is repeating at the launches around the country.

The book comes with a two hour DVD documentary which includes all the known surviving video footage from the tour, and it is only available online at www.theskippersdiary1949.com . It is highly recommended.

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