Primary cricketers do battle on coast

The Marlborough primary school reps decided to contribute to a fundraising effort for cancer-sufferer Hollie Beattie, a cause recently highlighted by Black Caps opener Tom Blundell. They bought specially-designed bat grips, which they all used throughout the South Island tournament, then presented the leading opposition player with one following each game. Photo: Supplied. 

The Marlborough primary school cricket team may have finished out of the top placings at the South Island tournament in Westport last week, but they made the most of their trip to the annual event.

A tough draw, some bad luck on day one and being on the wrong side of a couple of close results conspired to push Marlborough into 10th position, with team management suggesting if everything had gone their way they could have finished among the top four.

“The boys actually did pretty well,” said assistant coach Mike Croad. “It was one of those tournaments where the draw worked against us and we felt we were only a win away from being potential top four, depending on run rate.”

Marlborough’s first T20 match, against West Coast, a team they were heavily favoured to beat, was rained out and they drew two of the strong Canterbury sides, making it a “tough gig”.

Later in the first day they scored their first win, against Mid Canterbury, then the following day they lost to Nelson and beat hosts Buller.

Next up was Canterbury Country and Canterbury Red, two of the favoured sides, with Marlborough battling hard but coming up short in both fixtures.

Those results put them in the 9th-12th bracket where they met Buller in a 40-over semifinal and came away with an easy win. Marlborough scored 271-7 batting first and dismissed Buller for 153.

On the final day they met Mid Canterbury again and lost a thriller by a single run. Batting first Mid Canterbury made 148 before being dismissed, Marlborough losing their final wicket a run short of a tie.

Croad said the team’s bowling was a highlight, while several individuals showed up in the tournament’s overall batting, bowling and fielding standings.

Baxter Croad had the distinction of claiming the most wickets at the tournament, taking 12 scalps at an average of 9. Hunter Shore was 12th on the list with nine wickets at 11.

Benji Nation finished sixth on the batting ladder, scoring 160 runs at an average of 26. Shore was eighth with 149 at 24, Olly Pauling 20th with 117 at 29.

On the overall tournament MVP stats, accumulated points across all disciplines, Croad finished 10th, Pauling 11, Shore was 13th and Nation 14th.

“It’s a pretty good result for a wee place like us to have four guys right up there across 170-odd kids,” added Croad.

“We were right up there in terms of performances, we just didn’t get the results on the day.

“The lads never gave up at any stage and handled the quicker bowling well … within a week the boys have grown so much, they are hitting the ball so much harder now.”

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