Murdoch and Boam enter Karori folklore

COP THAT: University's Geoff Willmott is struck on the helmet while batting against Naenae Old Boys.
COP THAT: University's Geoff Willmott is struck on the helmet while batting against Naenae Old Boys.

As rep cricketers go, Stephen Murdoch is definitely one of those who retain a strong connection to, and affection for, their club.

So when Murdoch and fellow Wellington Firebird Harry Boam set a highest all-time partnership for Karori on Saturday, it genuinely meant something to him.

Having come together at 105 for two in their home one-day match against Wainuiomata, the pair added 244 for the third wicket before Murdoch fell leg before wicket to Sunnie Chan for 159. It was the highest partnership for any wicket in the history of the club, surpassing the 217 set by Neil Martin and Marc Ellison two summers ago.

"It's a great record to have," Murdoch said.

"There are some big names that have played for Karori over the years and plenty of big names up on the honours board. It's great to know that our names will, hopefully, be up there alongside those other players for a long time to come."

Boam eventually finished 118 not out as Karori posted a massive 372 for three in their 50 overs. Once Wainui lost wickets in the second, third and fourth overs of their chase, they were never in the hunt and eventually lost by 246 runs.

Having opened on a pitch which he said was a touch green, Murdoch was slow to start.

"But then Harry came out and upped the tempo and started to catch me. I thought I'd better get moving myself and we managed, with wickets in hand, to be pretty aggressive in the last 15 overs," he said.

Murdoch and Boam's scores were their highest in Karori colours. Murdoch was especially pleased for Boam, who's had to set about re-inventing himself as a cricketer in the last year or so.

Over-coached as a teen, Boam is essentially still a very orthodox player. But at the behest of Firebirds coach Jamie Siddons, Boam is now trying to become a hitter too, particularly in the Twenty20 format.

"It wasn't a day to be a bowler bowling at Harry because he was clearing the ropes with ease," Murdoch said.

"The game's constantly evolving and you can see in the T20 leagues around the world that the ability to have someone in the middle order that can clear the ropes is crucial. Harry's been working hard on that with Jamie and we've seen some good results."

Boam missed selection in the Wellington four-day team that Murdoch captains, but is in the Firebirds' T20 side.

Murdoch can't crack that, but certainly hopes to.

He's not quite sure where he'd fit it, but definitely wouldn't disgrace a top-three spot.

Michael Pollard and Michael Papps were selected ahead of him for last Friday's six-wicket win over Canterbury at Westpac Stadium.

On Saturday Pollard made 37 in North City's five-wicket win over Onslow, while Papps got seven as Wellington Collegians beat Hutt District by 31 runs.

Scott Kuggeleijn was the star of that win, making 118 in Collegians' total of 258 for six and then taking three for 48 in Hutt's 227.

Eastern Suburbs had a 10-wicket win over Johnsonville after bowling out the hosts for 82. Ben Orton made 55 not out for Easts, lifting his season average to 285.

Taita thrashed Upper Hutt by 113 runs, while University were 117-run winners over Naenae Old Boys.

Aside from Murdoch, Boam and Kuggeleijn, Onslow's Barry Rhodes (126) and Henry Walsh of Taita (109) were other players to register centuries.

Contact Hamish Bidwell
Sports reporter

The Dominion Post