The opening day of the Honda Premiership was one for the debutants. Four Round One matches of the Jeff Crowe Cup were transferred to artificial wickets. Full credit to the three groundsmen who were able to produce wickets for the weekend, after rain across Auckland earlier in the week made it almost impossible to do so.
Suburbs New Lynn vs. North Shore – Ken Maunder Park
North Shore kickstarted their campaign with an impressive 81-run victory over a strong Suburbs New Lynn side.
North Shore posted 304/4 on the back of a trio of half-centuries by Simon Keene, Michael Olsen and Ronnie Hira. North Shore openers, Keene and Ryan Thomson, fought through the challenges of the new ball and a fresh wicket, laying the foundation for what was to come.
Spinners Dane Watson and Mitchell Murray built pressure during the middle overs before the visitors kicked on at the death. Olsen and Hira took the bowlers on adding 122 in less than 15 overs. Hira then hit 30 off the final over, including three of his eight sixes, finishing on 90* from 52 balls.
Suburbs started positively with debutant Tristan Payle (61) leading the chase, but the North Shore attack remained disciplined throughout. While a series of starts kept the hosts on track, regular wickets lifted the required run-rate.
First, Will Clarke took a memorable first Premier wicket dismissing opposing skipper Michael Barry and then Carl Brungar returned to the crease taking a pair of his own. The required run-rate blew out and Hira bagged himself four late wickets to seal an opening day victory.
North Shore 305/4 (R Hira 90*, M Olsen 73, S Keene 60, R Thomson 39) defeated Suburbs New Lynn 224 (T Payle 61, G Hanham 36, R Hira 4-44) by 81 runs.
Ellerslie vs. Takapuna – Michaels Ave
Import Hassan Azad announced his arrival for Ellerslie with a fine all-round debut, before Takapuna’s middle-order flexed their muscles to register a comfortable six-wicket victory.
Azad hit Ellerslie out of early trouble and found a willing partner in coach Alan Burton. The pair played contrasting knocks, combining for a 153 third-wicket stand. Left-arm spinner Matt Jones was tasked with bowling the tough overs to bookend the innings, finishing with figures of 3-36. Will O’Donnell controlled the middle of the inning, his meagre ten overs going for just 19 runs.
Despite Azad’s dashing display of 120 from 127 deliveries, Takapuna kept Ellerslie to 224/8. A pair of early wickets and a circumspect start lifted Ellerslie’s hopes of victory. O’Donnell was joined by Mike Sclanders at 53/2 and the pair built a match-winning platform.
When Azad picked up wickets in consecutive overs, Takapuna still required 90 runs. O’Donnell carried on to an unbeaten 103*, while Simon Mathewson regularly found the fence, hitting four sixes and two fours on his way to an unbeaten 51.
Ellerslie 224/8 (H Azad 120, A Burton 51, M Jones 36) lost to Takapuna 227/4 (W O’Donnell 103*, S Mathewson 51*, M Sclanders 32) by six wickets.
East Coast Bays vs. Grafton – Windsor Park
Windsor Park also saw play on grass and the hosts made the most of it, running out comfortable victors by 54 runs.
Grafton had two wickets inside the first six overs; by then, East Coast Bays had raced out to 35. Ryan Schierhout and Ryan Harrison then took the Grafton attack apart. When Schierhout was trapped in front for 122 off 109, including 7 fours and 6 sixes, East Coast Bays were 180/3. Harrison picked up where his partner had left off, out for 90 in the final over of the innings.
Chasing 259, Grafton got off to a flier courtesy of a Harrison Ward blitz. Nathan Fletcher, on Grafton debut, showed his power hitting a fluent 85, threatening to gun East Coast Bays’ total on his own. Blair Smith and Chris Groenink held their nerve in the face of the onslaught, while Harrison added three wickets to a dominant first-up outing.
East Coast Bays 258/4 (R Schierhout 122, R Harrison 90) played Grafton 200 (N Fletcher 85, B Smith 3-24, R Harrison 3-26, C Groenink 3-50) by 54 runs (DLS method)
Parnell vs. Eden Roskill – Shore Road
Parnell overcame a slow start and a significant rain delay to defeat Eden Roskill by 76 runs.
The opening exchanges went the way of the visitors as Eden Roskill picked up three early wickets. Ollie Pringle and skipper Brad Rodden fought back. Rain came an hour into the first innings and reduced the affair to 42 overs per side.
When play resumed, Parnell put the pressure back on the Eden Roskill spinners. Pringle played patiently, while Rodden played his natural game. Though both players went past fifty, Harjot Johal returned to run through the tail and play a major role in bowling Parnell out for 221.
At 40/1, Eden Roskill had a reasonable start. Recruit Fanie de Villiers didn’t take long to find his feet, picking up three wickets in his first three overs. The damage had largely been done. A fighting fifty by Aman Bhardwaj kept Eden Roskill afloat, but de Villiers would get him too on his way to the day’s best figures of 5-37.
Parnell 221 (B Rodden 71, O Pringle 66, A Parikh 37, H Johal 4/43) defeated Eden Roskill 144 (A Bhardwaj 52, F de Villiers 5-37) by 76 runs (DLS method).
Papatoetoe vs. Waitakere – Papatoetoe Recreation
Papatoetoe put in a complete performance and made a strong statement, defeating Waitakere by 250 runs.
Papatoetoe piled on the runs, racing out to 67/1 after ten overs; Prabjyot Rehal, Josh Plummer and skipper Logan Clark found the bowling to their liking, all going past 70. Debutant Wynston Harrington-Toma was Waitakere’s most successful bowler taking 3-85 as Papatoetoe racked up 312/5.
The visitors reply started disastrously and showed few signs of improving, losing four wickets inside six overs. All of Papatoetoe’s bowlers took a wicket and James Simmons, Papatoetoe’s new wicketkeeper, took four catches on debut.
Papatoetoe 312/5 (P Rehal 87, J Plummer 86, L Clark 71, W Harrington-Toma 3-85) defeated Waitakere 62 by 250 runs.
Howick Pakuranga vs. Birkenhead – Lloyd Elsmore Park
In a match proving not all artificial wickets are equal, Howick Pakuranga survived a scare to chalk up their first win of the season against a Birkenhead side that stayed in the fight until the very end.
Recruit James O’Brien held the early stages of the Birkenhead innings together as Adam Jones spun a web around O’Brien’s partners. Jones picked up three wickets, bowling unchanged from the 13thover. Bill Walsh then chimed in with two wickets in the middle of the innings, before Taine Jolley cleaned up the tail.
Birkenhead’s 132 should never have been enough, but for some time it looked like it might be. The theme of regular wickets continued and, at 53/4, Birkenhead had well and truly perked up.
When David Winn and Donovan Grobbelaar put a brief partnership together, Howick Pakuranga appeared back on track. A pair of LBWs accounted for them both and the rollercoaster continued. Jones added 34 with Liam Winn as Howick Pakuranga won with nine overs to spare.
Birkenhead 132 (A Jones 3/26) lost to Howick Pakuranga 133/6 by four wickets.
Auckland University vs. Cornwall – Colin Maiden Park
Cornwall posted the highest score of the round on the back of a batting masterclass by captain Michael Guptill-Bunce. Cornwall’s dominant display began with a partnership of 111 between the skipper and Amit Dhadwal. The pair set the foundation for others to come in and play positively. When one Dhadwal departed, another took his place with number three Aditya hitting 61 during a second hundred-run stand.
Guptill-Bunce was eventually dismissed with 147 beside his name, from 114 deliveries. It was left to Lucas Dasent and Brad Chemaly to cap off the Cornwall innings of 340/5, with Ash Vodnala bagging his first three wickets for University.
A chase of such magnitude was always going to be a challenge. Beau Dench did his best to get University off to a flier, but Cornwall’s attack would not be denied. A steady stream of wickets left the hosts at 88/8, before skipper Nick Stobart’s unbeaten 45 added some respectability to a tough outing.
Cornwall 340/5 (M Guptill-Bunce 147, Ad Dhadwal 61, B Chemaly 38*, Am Dhadwal 38, L Dasent 37, A Vodnala 3-38) defeated Auckland University 160 (N Stobart 45*, B Dench 39) by 180 runs.