Marlborough maintained their stranglehold on the Cave Cup at the Chapple Cup one-day cricket tournament in Napier on Sunday, picking up the silverware for the fifth consecutive season.
As they did last year, they met top of the south rivals Nelson in the trophy decider and came away with a convincing victory.
Both sides lost on the first day of the annual Central Districts regional tournament, meaning they were relegated to the Cave Cup section. On Saturday, Marlborough accounted for Taranaki, while Nelson hammered Wairarapa to set up a rematch of their Newman Shield match in Blenheim the previous weekend.
On that occasion Nelson were too good, winning by seven wickets, but on Sunday Marlborough reversed the equation, prevailing by six wickets in a match shortened to 40-overs due to travel commitments.
Nelson won the toss and opted to bat first, following the tournament trend.
The Zohrab twins, Thomas and David, saw them off to a solid 42-run start before Chris Turkington trapped David lbw for 20. The accomplished Greg Hay combined with Thomas Zohrab to take the score past 100 before he was run out in the 22nd over, a pivotal moment.
Paddy Howes added 33 before becoming the first of in-form paceman Nick Weaver’s three victims. Finn Restieaux contributed 28 as Nelson pushed on towards the 200 mark but they were unable to create real momentum at the tail-end of their innings, amassing 203-8 from their 40 overs.
Marlborough’s bowlers were disciplined and generally demanding. Weaver snared 3-34 from eight overs, Prabodha Arthavidu grabbed 1-38 from eight, Turkington 1-18 from four and Jerrym Lamb chipped in with 2-35 from eight.
Once again the in-form Ma’ara Ave got Marlborough’s innings off to a good start, despite losing opening partner Tom Sutherland with just three runs on the board.
Arthavidu joined Ave for a 61-run second wicket partnership, setting the foundation for a successful chase before Ave departed for 34 from 44 balls in the 12th over. Both Matthew Stretch and Lamb came and went quickly, leaving the match in the balance with Marlborough teetering at 79-4 in the 16th over. However Luke Frankland strode to the wicket and from there he and Renwick clubmate Arthavidu set about building a superb unbroken 125-run partnership to take the game away from Nelson.
Marlborough finished with 204-4 in the 38th over, Arthavidu remaining unbeaten on 82 from 92 balls and Frankland left on 64 from 74 deliveries.
Marlborough coach Jarrod Englefield was happy with the Cave Cup result but was again left rueing the first-up loss to Manawatu.
“We were in a pretty strong position to beat Manawatu but unfortunately it didn’t happen … like I said to the boys, we played really good cricket but just lost a few key moments in that game.
“Then, against Taranaki … I don’t remember the last time we beat those guys … we played really good cricket, posted a really good score then fielded and bowled well.
“Today we just played really good cricket. The boys are full of confidence.”
Englefield singled out pace bowler Weaver, who took five wickets against Taranaki and three against Nelson, for special mention. “He’s bowling like a demon, there had been loads of runs scored on the pitch we played on yesterday, but he took 5-40 and bowled well again today.
“Ma’ara [Ave] has batted well throughout, Luke Frankland was very good today and Artha got 80 not out, Harry MacDonald played an amazing innings against Taranaki … there were just contributions from everybody.
“We have won the Cave Cup before, but to beat Taranaki and Nelson along the way this year, they are probably the hardest teams we have had to play to win the cup before.
“We are definitely playing the type of cricket that puts us in the top four of the CD region.”
Next up for Marlborough is their Hawke Cup qualifying campaign, which begins with a trip to Buller on December 21-22.
Earlier Chapple Cup results:
Friday – Manawatu 278-7 (Trent McGrath 106, Floyd Na Nagara 82, Arana Noema-Barnett 64, Prabodha Arthavidu 3-53, Nick Weaver 2-56, Jerrym Lamb 2-40) Marlborough 241 (Ma’ara Ave 76, Arthavidu 52, Lamb 40, Harry MacDonald 35, Noema-Barnett 4-29, Tim Richards 2-38, Brad Fulton 2-45). Manawatu win by 37 runs.
Saturday – Marlborough 286-9 (Ave 92, Tom Sutherland 46, Arthavidu 20, Lamb 38, MacDonald 52, Jordan Gard 4-56) Taranaki 253 (Adam Keene 53, Phillip Barraclough 40, Weaver 5-40). Marlborough win by 33 runs.