It was always likely that the Hedley Howarth Championship would finish with Howick Pakuranga picking up back-to-back titles, but what wasn’t scripted was quite how they would do it.
The early part of the day proceeded as was expected – Howick Pakuranga had East Coast Bays 26/3 by drinks – chasing 383, that was going to be hard for Bays to return from.
Then both teams slackened off. Quite suddenly, almost precipitously. A ripple went around Lloyd Elsmore Park – Cornwall had, surprisingly, taken first-innings points against Suburbs New Lynn. That meant the Alpacas had the championship, and Bays had no chance to avoid being relegated.
East Coast Bays picked themselves up better. Sebastian Langridge and Ryan Harrison batted through the second session, both making their half-centuries before tea. After Langridge brought up his 50, everyone decided that was about enough. Both captains shook on the draw, and pulled stumps on the summer.
Gentlemanly agreements played a part in deciding the Tom Hellaby Championship as well, albeit in a very different way.
Eden Roskill, who had Ellerslie at 71/4 in their second innings, went for the throat. Six wickets in the first hour, and Roskill only needed 77 to win outright. They got them early in the second session for the loss of just two wickets. That gave them more than a session and a half to sweat the result at Te Atatu Park between Waitakere and North Shore.
North Shore made the runs they needed to pick up a first-innings win and immediately declared at lunch. Then Waitakere went out and, in a session, clocked up 192/4. They then declared ahead of the final session, looking for the upset and the chance to pick up enough points to get ahead of Ellerslie at the bottom of the ladder.
Stephen Baard wasn’t going to let a chance like that get away. Along with Graeme Beghin, the pair went after the total hammer and tongs.
They needed to. When Baard was caught off Tony Wannan for 90, North Shore needed 31 more runs and could not afford to slow down.
Beghin stepped up his scoring rate, and in the 32nd over, he sent the ball to the boundary for four runs, an eight-wicket win, and the Tom Hellaby Championship.
Hedley Howarth Championship
Championship Winners: Howick Pakuranga
Howick Pakuranga 383 (B Walsh 126, D Ferns 94; B Smith 5-70, L Delport 3-105) drew with East Coast Bays 135/4 (R Harrison 52, S Langridge 50*; D Grobbelaar 3-31).
Papatoetoe 135 (D Bhatti 27, K Yadav 26; M Jones 5-52, R ter Braak 2-16) and 239 (P Rehal 68, L Istead 50*; M Jones 3-61) lost to Takapuna 429 (M Sclanders 202*, J Sussex 65; D Bhatti 3-72) by 55 runs.
Cornwall 226 (Ad Dhadwal 69, M Guptill-Bunce 65; M Barry 3-29) and 208/5 dec. (F de Villiers 71*; S Devereaux 2-33) won first innings against Suburbs New Lynn 217 (M Barry 48, J Cracknell 31; S Marra 5-60, S Nair 3-42) and 142/5 (M Barry 58, S Gunawardane 44; E Jones 3-12).
Auckland University 207 (F Allen 89, J Windler 49; O Pringle 4-19, K Russell 4-59) lost first innings against Parnell 262 (D van Deventer 78, J Fisher 48; H Patel 4-17, J Patel 3-97).
Tom Hellaby Championship
Championship Winners: North Shore
Ellerslie 97 (A Burton 24; B Vora 5-24, B Rowland 1-2) and 113 (A Edekar 44; Z Malik 5-30, B Rowland 2-16) lost to Eden Roskill 133 (Z Malik 67; M Wall 7-25) and 81/2 (Z Malik 34, B Rowland 31*; A Sreenivasan 2-20) by eight wickets.
Grafton 181/9 dec. (N Bhana 44; A Christian 4-50, M Patel 2-18) and 147/4 dec. (S Variath 49, C Rajapaskha 2-39) defeated Birkenhead 97/7 dec. (A Jayasinghe 41; C de Beer 4-22) and 173 (A Christian 56; H Robertson 6-60, M Snedden 3-13) by 59 runs.
Waitakere 188 (B Cachopa 57, S Mirza 33; T Chitongo 4-47, C Brungar 3-45) and 192/4 dec. (S Mirza 77*; S Keene 1-14) lost to North Shore 189/7 dec. (C Brungar 55, G Beghin 51; W Henderson 3-27) and 194/2 (S Baard 90, G Beghin 83*; T Wannan, 2-56) by eight wickets.