On Sunday, the Auckland weather turned it on and so did the batsmen in the two Jeff Crowe Cup Preliminary Finals.
Jeff Crowe Cup
Grafton vs. Suburbs New Lynn – Victoria Park
An aggressive opening stand of 122 between Raj Majithia and Tristan Payle helped Suburbs New Lynn take their place in the semifinals.
Batting first, the pair built the perfect platform as Grafton searched for a wicket. When Payle was bowled by Carl de Beer for 66, one brought two for Grafton as Michael Barry followed three overs later. Majithia, though, had the situation under control and, with the help of Mitchell Murray (30) and Max Harris (35), set up a big finish.
It was to be Majithia’s day, hitting 13 fours as he scored his first hundred of the summer. While wickets fell in the pursuit of late runs, Dane Watson finished with an unbeaten 21 off 12 balls, while for Grafton, four bowlers claimed two wickets apiece as Suburbs finished on 336/8.
It didn’t take long for Suburbs to make the most of their scoreboard pressure as Grafton crumbled to 87/5 in the 19th over. Harris followed his knock with a pair of crucial top-order wickets, while Nathan Fletcher (50*) stood tall for Grafton. All five Suburbs’ bowlers took at least one wicket, with Watson claiming 3-41 off his ten overs. In the end, Fletcher ran out of partners with Murray putting the last two wickets beside his name as Suburbs stayed alive.
Suburbs New Lynn 336/8 (R Majithia 132, T Payle 66, M Harris 35, M Murray 30) defeated Grafton 151 (N Fletcher 50*, D Watson 3-41) by 185 runs.
Takapuna vs. Auckland University – Onewa Domain
A mammoth partnership of 340 between Max O’Dowd and William O’Donnell well and truly set the wheels in motion for Takapuna against Auckland University.
The Takapuna openers were patient in the beginning as the University bowlers settled in on a line and length. After 20 overs, the Pirates were 77/0 and the visitors would have been hopeful, knowing O’Dowd and O’Donnell had taken time to get going.
When the foot went down, however, the pair were unstoppable. O’Donnell was the first to go to fifty before O’Dowd followed shortly after. With the partnership past 100, the partnership went to another level. There was no hiding for the University bowlers as O’Donnell raced to a hundred.
O’Dowd wasn’t going to miss out, surviving an outside edge through to the keeper before bringing up his fourth Jeff Crowe Cup century in a row. It didn’t stop there. Both players freed up as 400 came into focus. O’Donnell (174) powered 11 fours and 12 sixes, while O’Dowd finished unbeaten on 196, with 21 fours and 8 sixes to his name.
Takapuna’s bowlers still had a job to do. Chasing 389, University overcame the early loss of Vijay Anand before putting on a significant stand of their own. Graham Clark and Connor Ansell put on 225 in double-quick time to get University in front of the game.
Clark brought up a 67-ball hundred on his way to 130. When Dan James dismissed both Clark and Ansell (93) from successive deliveries, University needed another partnership. It never came. Mike Sclanders (3-53) and Matt Jones (2-63) ran through the middle order before Ryan Quinn finished off the tail. A collapse of 60/9 settled University’s fate, falling short by 100 runs.
Takapuna 388/3 (M O’Dowd 196*, W O’Donnell 174) defeated Auckland University 288 (G Clark 130, C Ansell 93, M Sclanders 3-53) by 100 runs.
Semifinals – Sunday 16th February
Cornwall vs. Suburbs New Lynn – Cornwall Park
Parnell vs. Takapuna – Shore Road