CONFIDENT: TA Sports Rising Cricket Stars yet to Shine

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LUSTY BLOW: Te Awamutu Sports Matti Clarke had positive intentions against the Cambridge attack until holing out for 13 at Albert Park on Saturday

Te Awamutu Sports Blue captain Clint Price is confident his team can quickly turn their season around after dropping both their opening games in the combined Hamilton-Waikato Valley club cricket one-day competition.

VE Vets TA Sports Blue were on the receiving end of an eight wicket loss to Cambridge at Albert Park on Saturday. Having won the toss and electing to bat first, the home team quickly found themselves reeling at 4/3 against an attack spearheaded by Cambridge’s English import, medium-pacer Nathan Goldthorp.

There was no respite for the batsmen as Goldthorp and Chris Swanson claimed four wickets apiece. After slumping to 29/7, TA Sports were eventually all out for 64 in 22.1 overs. Jared Bayly’s unbeaten 22 off 17 balls stood out like a beacon. Cambridge cruised to their target in 15.5 overs, thanks to an unbeaten 42 from Simon Dodds, after being in trouble themselves at 4-2 as both Josh Malpas and Jake Gibson struck early with the ball.

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TA Sports and Otorohanga are the two teams in Pool B yet to open their account. Life doesn’t get any easier for TA Sports this coming Saturday when confronting Hamilton one-day defending champions Old Boys at Steele Park. But Price backs his young team to soon hit their straps in the batting department. “We’re a good side, but all a little rusty right now. We just need time out in the middle to get some momentum going.” Price is excited to have the likes of rising stars, Jake Gibson, Brandon Weal and Matti Clarke in his team.

Gibson and Weal both spent our winter playing cricket in England. In division two, Te Awamutu Marist recorded an historic 29 run win over Pirongia in Waikato Valley’s Peter Bennett 40 overs competition. Marist’s first win over the Mountain Men was built around a Bryce McCandlish half century and bag of five wickets to Joe Bain. Batting first at Pirongia, Marist scored 159/8 with McCandlish contributing 53 (2x4s, 5x6s), Pat Goodwin 26 and Gary Muraahi 24.

A more substantial total looked likely with Marist handily placed at 115/2 after 28 overs, courtesy of a fourth wicket stand of 67 between McCandlish and Muraahi. Pirongia picked up the wicket of Muraahi and stopped the flow of runs for the next eight overs with some smart bowling/fielding. Some bold hitting from Scott Sands, taking 12 runs off the last over, proved crucial.

Jacob Dempsey was the pick of the Pirongia bowlers with 3-30 from six overs, supported by Karl Swanson with 2-22 from eight overs. In reply, Pirongia were dismissed for 130 in 31 overs. Top scorers were Jacob Dempsey with 29 and Adam Buist 22. Pirongia were always on the back foot after Sands picked up two early wickets and Darren Marsom manufactured a sharp run out. Sands finished with 2-18 from six overs.

Pirongia looked to rebuild their innings with Dempsey and Buist at the crease until Joe Bain entered the attack. Marist’s top wicket-taker from last season took little time to get into the swing of things, claiming career best figures of 5-45 from seven overs. He was unlucky not to have ended up with seven or eight wickets due to some sloppy catching on the boundary.

Mike Naylor finished strongly for Pirongia, hitting a rapid 21. Marist are home this Saturday to Taumarunui. It will be Marist’s first game on the new wicket at Castleton Park. Stan Reason was the toast of Pratt’s Milking Machines Te Awamutu Sports Gold team after blazing his way to 47 off 17 balls in their eight wicket win over Taumarunui.

Reason totally dominated his team’s reply of 52/2 after the visitors had been dismissed for 51 at Te Awamutu College, smashing five sixes and two fours to get TA Sports Gold home in a mere 4.3 overs. His strike rate was a staggering 276. He was denied a deserving half century when caught skying a shot with the scores tied.

Bowlers to inflict the damage on Taumarunui were Cam Crombie, with 3-11 off five overs, and Callum Pearson, with 2-2. TA Sports Gold have an away game against Otorohanga Owls this Saturday.