The Auckland Under-17 Boys’ team has won the national tournament in Lincoln with a comprehensive five-wicket win against Central Districts.
After winning the toss and opting to bowl, the Auckland quicks produced tight lines and took early wickets – including Nikith Perera removing Sam Ferguson, the tournament’s top run-scorer, for zero.
At 14/2 after six overs, Central rallied around number three Will Clark. Together with Finn Restieaux, Clark anchored the fightback until he was dismissed for 99 by yesterday’s hero Adithya Ashok. Just seven runs later Dinesh Kharel snared Restieaux and CD were 168/5.
Some late hitting by Jordie Gard pushed the score over 200 and helped Central see out the 50 overs. Their final total was 224/8, Perera took 2-24, Yahya Zeb 2-34, and Ashok 2-39.
Auckland lost skipper Nathan Robinson early, but the U17s didn’t panic – opener BJ Jacobs and first-drop Dimithri Gallage combined to produce a 121-run partnership.
With the run-rate needed low, Auckland was on-track when Jacobs was dismissed for 72 off 86 balls. Liam Wheeler came in and built another solid partnership with Gallage, reaching a shared half-century.
Gallage had just taken Auckland past the 200 mark when he fell for 95 off 99, including nine 4s and four 6s.
With 11 overs to make 24 runs, the result was inevitable. Auckland won by five wickets with more than six overs to spare. The victory was carried out in the same style as Auckland had played all tournament – a team effort with contributions across the board.
Ashok finished the eight days as the tournament’s top wicket-taker with 17 scalps. Robinson, Gallage, and Wheeler were among the top 10 run-scorers.
The title is Auckland’s third Under-17 win in three years, and caps off a remarkable season for Auckland’s age-group cricketers.