Kura keen to build a winning streak
Papakura are under no illusions about how tough it will be to beat Manukau in their cricket one-dayer at War Memorial Park in Manurewa on Saturday.
Defending champs Papakura will be in high spirits after beating neighbours Karaka by three wickets and posting their first back-to-back win of the season at the Karaka Sports Park last Saturday.
And they will be doubly pumped at being the only team to get maximum points from round four after weather washed out matches between Pukekohe Metro and Manukau, and Weymouth and Waiuku.
The washouts were a benefit for the Nick Kelly-led Papakura side because the two points they got from the Karaka win vaulted them into second place behind competition leaders Manukau.
But Kelly is mindful of the threat posed by Manukau.
"They're a top side on paper and will be hard to beat at home. They have one of the best batting line-ups in the competition and the bowlers to complement.
"Our batsmen and bowlers will be have to get the basics right to contain them."
The match will be just Kelly's fifth as captain. Last season's New Zealand under-19 representative concedes he is still a novice as far as captaincy goes and that he's learning on the job.
But he says he's enjoying the responsibility as much as he likes playing cricket.
The win against Karaka did plenty for his team's self-belief after they had a losing start to the season, Kelly says.
The game was a rematch of last season's rain-affected Duthie Cup final in which Karaka batted first, achieved a modest total built on innings by Sam Kett but one that Papakura ran down in watery conditions.
Fast forward seven months and Karaka were once again batting first. They progressed to 75-3 before the first of two rain delays shortened the game to 34 overs per team.
Resuming after the rain Sam Kett advanced to 39 off 68 balls and then fell to the bowling of Henry Gibson, just as he had done in last season's final.
Matt Wood, 21, continued his good batting form but he was nicked out by Ryan Phizackerley in his first game for Papakura.
Papakura's short bowling figures rank Marty Perry's 2-19 on top followed by Tim Medland's 2-26 and Kelly's 2-28.
The extended bowling statistics put Gibson 1-17 ahead. The finger-spinner sent down five overs, two of them maidens, taking the key wicket of Kett and only conceding 17 runs.
Papakura made a diabolical start to their innings. Gibson was caught from the last ball of the second over. Four LBWs followed, Nick Kelly 23, Danny Shine 4, Shane Gadsdon 5 and Devon Jones 12.
At 64-5 Papakura, who were well ahead of the required run rate, were looking skyward.
Another rain interruption saw the target readjusted to 134. It was an unbroken seventh wicket partnership between Matt Gurrey 37 not out and Marty Perry 19 not out which carried the day.
Pukekohe were 100-3 in the 21st over against Manukau when their match was called off.
The Weymouth-Waiuku match was even more brief - it lasted just 10 overs.
RESULTS Karaka 144-9 ( Sam Kett 39, Matt Wood 21. Marty Perry 2-19, Tim Medland 2-26, Nick Kelly 2-28, Henry Gibson 1-17) lost to Papakura 135-7 (total adjusted to 134) (Matt Gurrey 37 n/o, Nick Kelly 23, Marty Perry 19 n/o. Stu Kett 3-22, Michael Schofield 2-42) three wickets.
Duthie Cup points (after four rounds):
Manukau 6, Papakura 5, Pukekohe-Metro 4, Waiuku 4, Karaka 3, Weymouth 2.
Saturday's draw: Manukau v Papakura, War Memorial Park, Manurewa. Karaka v Weymouth, Karaka Sports Park, Karaka. Waiuku v Pukekohe-Metro, Massey Park, Waiuku.