Two contrasting semi-finals have found this season’s Jeff Crowe Cup finalists. Suburbs New Lynn and Parnell will meet at Eden Park on Sunday 3 March to see who will take out the limited-overs title.
North Shore vs Suburbs New Lynn – Devonport Domain
Suburbs New Lynn won the toss and batted first on a used wicket. Much like last week, Joe Cracknell wasn’t in the mood to let the bowlers settle. After two fours and a straight six, Cracknell took on Carl Brungar once too often, and was out for 18 off 12. Jeet Raval then flayed five fours through the off-side before Tim Duncraft took a diving catch at deep square leg.
When Sean Solia joined Raj Majithia, they needed some composure. North Shore pulled back SNL’s fast start with tight spin bowling. Shore concentrated on containing the pair, working to keep the total under 300. Then North Shore skipper Michael Olsen took advantage of a mix-up to run Solia out at the bowler’s end.
Majithia fought through visible disappointment over the run-out to continue scoring. He brought up his century with two to wide long-on. Captain Victor Davies then took over to give Suburbs a big finish.
With a single on the final ball, Davies brought up a rapid-fire fifty from 24 balls in an innings that included two fours and five sixes. Brungar was a serious threat with the ball all thorugh the innings, taking 4-56. After 50 overs, Suburbs had a total of 304/9.
The start of the chase mirrored the first innings. Stephen Baard raced out of the blocks with four boundaries. Solia ended Baard’s burst with a ball that caught the outside edge and flew to first slip.
Regular wickets put Shore in trouble; Dane Watson proved particularly difficult to get away with a strong wind behind him. At 143/7, Ben Wall joined Ronnie Hira.
Suburbs were eager to finish things off quickly. The Shore pair had other ideas. Wall and Hira combined solid defence with brave hitting. Hira brought up a 34-ball 50 while Wall chimed in with crucial boundaries. The second drinks break came with no respite from Hira’s constant peppering of the long-on and mid-wicket boundaries.
When North Shore required 76 off 60 balls, the game was firmly back in the balance. There was still a tightrope to walk, however, as they only had three wickets to play with. Another towering six over the legside powered Hira to a 58-ball century. By now, Shore had reduced the required run-rate to a six an over.
With 15 needed from the final four overs, Solia came back into the attack. He got the breakthrough – Wall edged a slower bouncer through to the keeper. A double-wicket maiden left Hira on strike for Sam Devereaux’s next over. The tall seamer started with a wide, but Hira caught the next one with an inside edge and the ball cannoned onto his stumps. Suburbs took victory by 13 runs.
Suburbs New Lynn 304/9 (R Majithia 103, S Solia 62, V Davies 50*; C Brungar 4-56) defeated North Shore 291 (R Hira 128, B Wall 43; D. Watson 3-16, Solia 3-56) by 13 runs.
Howick Pakuranga vs Parnell – Lloyd Elsmore Park
It was two heavily bolstered sides that met at Lloyd Elsmore Park. Howick Pakuranga opted to bowl first and Donovan Grobbelaar found immediate success. The all-rounder dismissed both Parnell openers in his first over to kickstart an impressive powerplay for the competition’s only remaining unbeaten side.
At 17/3, having lost last week’s hero Ben Horne, Parnell were in need of a considerable rebuild. Mark Chapman and Andy Lane stood up against Howick Pakuranga’s all-Aces seam attack to add 70 for the fourth wicket.
Chapman moved past fifty and the innings swung back towards Parnell. Then Mitch McClenaghan came up trumps for the home side, snaring Chapman for 52. Skipper Brad Rodden joined Lane at the crease, and the experienced duo were able to accumulate through the middle overs.
Just as Parnell were preparing for a late-innings launch, Glenn Phillips trapped Lane in front on 60. Will Somerville joined Rodden for 46 runs, but Matt McEwan stifled momentum by dismissing both set batsmen. The tail continued to wag when Ollie Pringle and Josh Fisher started hitting. They added 67 runs in the final seven overs as Parnell boosted their score to an imposing 263/8.
Both sides must have been relatively pleased at the innings break – it was a decent score for Parnell to defend, but the Alpacas would have been ready to go after it on their home ground.
Parnell couldn’t let Howick Pakuranga get comfortable, and Henry King made sure they didn’t. The tall right-armer dismissed both Glenn Phillips and Daniel Young during a six-over opening burst.
All of a sudden, the Howick Pakuranga juggernaut was faltering. Parnell snuffed out a series of starts and were threatening to break the match wide open. Nikith Perera bowled the big-hitting Brian Barnard to reduce Howick Pakuranga to 66/4.
All was definitely not lost, however. With Donovan Grobbelaar and Dale Phillips at the crease, there was still plenty of batting left for Howick Pakuranga.
Enter Will Somerville. He successfully trapped Grobbelaar LBW with his second ball, which started a parade of Alpacas batsmen facing him and then getting out. Howick Pakuranga’s spirits obviously flagged as the off-spinner kept taking wickets.
Adam Jones and Danru Ferns attempted to at least survive to make the score respectable, but when Jones was caught behind for 10, the fightback was over. Somerville bowled Mitchell McClenaghan for a first-ball duck, finishing the match with astonishing figures of 6-10 off 7.5 overs. The Peaches booked a place in the final with an emphatic 146-run victory.
Parnell 263/8 (A Lane 60, M Chapman 52; M McEwan 3-43) defeated Howick Pakuranga 117 (D Young 21, A Morrison 21; W Somerville 6-10) by 146 runs.