The Marlborough Labour Hire Falcons may have reached Sunday’s Tasman Premier League final, but they were unable to get the job done in the decider in Nelson.
They went down by six wickets to top qualifier ACOB who restricted the Blenheim-based side to 141 then chased the meagre target down for the loss of just four wickets in quick time.
Although consistent batting enabled them to get the better of semifinal rival WTTU at Horton Park on Saturday, it let them down at Saxton Oval a day later.
After a promising opening partnership of 21 they lost wickets regularly, opener Chris Bartholomeusz the best of the top order with 19 patient runs from 63 balls.
At 53-6 the Falcons were in deep trouble but got enough runs from their lower order to post a score they had a slim chance of defending. Bailey Andrews-Kennedy (17), Harrison Boyce, who produced the top score of 42, Nick Weaver (10) and No 11 Tim Petrie (14 not out) pushed the visitor’s score to 141 before they were dismissed in the 49th over.
The ACOB bowlers were particularly miserly, while sharing the wickets around. Thomas Zohrab bowled 10 overs, taking 2-12, Mason Lund grabbed 2-19 from seven, rep coach BJ Barnett picked up 2-28 from seven while Reuben Smith took 2-34 from six. David Zohrab was equally hard to score from, snaring 1-18 from 10.
Falcons needed early wickets and got two, picking up Barnett and No 3 Ben Hazlett with just 10 on the board. However, that brought the Zohrab brothers together and they were not separated until the scoreboard read 102. Thomas scored 50 from 86 balls, while David was not out 60 off 103 at the close, which came in the 38th over.
Weaver, 2-22 from eight, Matthew Stretch 2-31 from 8.4, were the wicket-takers.
On Saturday they booked their place in the TPL decider with a five-wicket victory over Nelson rivals WTTU at Horton Park.
The Falcons, who lost the toss and were put into the field by WTTU, worked hard to limit the visitors to 222-7 from their 50-over allocation. Veteran Central Districts batsman Greg Hay was the standout in the WTTU batting effort, working his way to an unbeaten 108 from 116 balls and holding his side’s innings together.
Sam Boyce, who took 3-54 from 10 was the best bowler for Falcons, with Tarin Mason bagging 2-24 from nine. Spinners Matthew Stretch and Tim Petrie went wicketless, but helped slow WTTU’s momentum after they had made a rapid start.
In reply, the Falcons were consistent. After losing Chris Turkington, early, Andrew McCaa and Chris Bartholomeusz (39) took the score to 91, blunting WTTU’s attack.
McCaa went on to score a well-timed 82 from 114 balls, anchoring the home side’s effort.
An unbeaten 51 from just 54 balls from skipper Stretch saw the Falcons home, assisted by Mason and Petrie who contributed handy knocks at the end. Josh Newport, who claimed 3-59 from 9.5 was the most successful of the WTTU attack.