Cricketing nomads host final at new home
Finally moving Takapuna District Cricket Club's premier women to Hobsonville War Memorial Park avoids a repeat of last season's let down.
Takapuna qualified to host the final of the Auckland club cricket premier limited overs competition last season. But, with no home ground available, they had to relinquish that advantage to their opposition.
However on March 25, Takapuna, who for the fifth time in a row have qualified top, will host this season's Pearl Dawson Trophy final against Auckland University.
"My team has been the nomads of the premier competition," Takapuna Ponies coach Chris Reid says.
Onewa Domain, where the Takapuna clubrooms are, has only one grass block, meaning the ground is in demand.
"Everyone is fighting for that and the men get the priority. So, in my three seasons, I can count on one hand the number of times we have played on that ground," Reid says.
The dedicated oval in Hobsonville is welcomed by the Takapuna women. Ground delays prevented Takapuna from playing all their home games at the venue this season, but Reid is pleased the team now has a home - even if it is so late in the season.
Takapuna's first appearance at the Hobsonville ground will be talked about for years to come.
On March 18, Takapuna unexpectedly knocked over top-four premier side, Waitakere, cheaply. The visitors, who included a White Ferns player, a domestic representative and a number of under-21 reps in the team, were all out for 15 chasing Takapuna's total of 233.
Takapuna bowler Roz McNeill took nine wickets for six runs in that match.
"That is without doubt the best single bowling performance I have ever seen in my seven years of coaching, men or women, at a club level and it really was exceptional," Reid says of McNeill's haul.
"So, she'll take a lot of confidence, we take confidence from that as a team and watching her perform but also for Lauren [Down] to amass another hundred, going back-to-back, we feel like we've got two of our elite players peaking at the right time."
Throughout the season, Takapuna haven't had to rely on their domestic representatives which include Auckland Hearts McNeill and Down, Kerry Tomlinson from Northern Districts and Anlo van Deventer from Central Districts, but have had "a lot of people consistently chipping in throughout the entirety of the season," Reid says.
"The girls have taken some great strides forward this year individually, and as a team, so we do take confidence from that and we will be looking to take that into Saturday's game but we are well aware of the challenge in front of us."
Auckland University and Takapuna have already faced off in one final this season, with University convincingly winning the twenty20 title.
Takapuna will be wary of Katie Gurry who is the leading run scorer in the competition, as well as Auckland Hearts captain Vic Lind and Anna Peterson whose hat-trick helped to deliver victory for the White Ferns in a Twenty20 clash with Australia last month.
* Pearl Dawson Trophy final, Takapuna versus Auckland University, March 25 at Hobsonville War Memorial Park starting at 11.30am.