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Waicol make big statement

Josh Nelson batting for the Wairarapa College First XI. PHOTO/KYLIE ALEXANDER

CRICKET

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

The Wairarapa College First XI boys’ cricket team made an emphatic statement against one of their traditional rivals last Thursday.

Taking on the Rongotai College First XI, who are a grade above them in the Wellington competitions, Waicol were asked to bat first on their home ground.

They found themselves in early trouble at 2-2 after both openers had been dismissed without scoring.

Oliver Bunny and Jake Young joined the openers back in the sheds shortly after to leave the innings hanging in the balance at 25-4, but some gutsy work from the middle order gave them a fighting chance.

Mark Steventon produced some lusty blows before he was caught behind for 30, but another collapse saw the score sitting perilously at 86-7 after 30 overs.

Josh Nelson realised the danger his side was in and played a patient innings of 33 off 94 balls, but it was the heroics of No 9 batsman Bhulvhai Taua who really turned the momentum of the match.

While Nelson was busy rotating the strike, Taua dealt in boundaries and quickly brought up his maiden half-century, which included seven boundaries and two sixes.

The pair put on 78 for the eighth wicket and Waicol were eventually dismissed for 167 in the 48th over.

Taua finished with the highest score of the innings after compiling a brilliant 56 from 59 balls.

Taua and Nelson were not finished there, however, and both picked up two early wickets when it was Waicol’s turn to bowl.

Rongotai were in big trouble as they found themselves at 14-4 in the fifth over.

A recovery of sorts saw the score climb to 63 without losing another wicket, before Caleb Anstis struck to claim a crucial wicket.

Spin bowling was working well for Waicol, with Young [2-1 off three overs] and Bunny [1-19 off 10] putting the home team on top.

At 83-8 it looked as if Waicol were heading for a comfortable victory, but a couple of late partnerships saw Rongotai through to 128 before the final wicket fell.

Taua grabbed a third wicket to cap off a memorable man-of-the-match performance, finishing with 3-30 from his seven overs.

Coach Alistair Payne said it was an important win for his team.

“A win by 39 runs is a great result against a team who is in a grade above us in Wellington.”

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