Big stand keeps Norths' Pearce Cup hopes alive

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012
Matt Robins and Adam Williams
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
WINNING FEELING: Naenae batsmen Matt Robins (left) and Adam Williams saw their team home by seven wickets against Taita.

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North City's big guns all fired in a bonus point one-day win to keep the club's Pearce Cup hopes alive heading into the final qualifying round.

Firebirds Michael Pollard (130) and Dane Hutchinson (4-30) both had success against Wainuiomata on Saturday, while Neeraj Chawla had a fine double of 79 and 3-29 with his off-spin.

Pollard and Chawla shared an unbeaten 200-run partnership as Norths chased down 223 in the 36th over for the loss of just one wicket.

The win moved Norths into a share of eighth place in the 14-team competition, with just one game to play before the top-six split into the Pearce Cup.

"It's coming out well and I'm getting a few wickets at the moment," said Chawla, 33, who played two one-day games for Delhi in 1999-2000 and is "quite good mates" with Indian stars Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh.

"It's turning more than I was expecting actually, the white ball is definitely turning quite a bit which is a bit surprising. We needed to win this game with a bonus point, that was the idea behind the run chase. [Pollard] batted really well. He needed those runs. All I was telling him was you need this innings very much and I said you've just got to bat through and I will support you to your hundred. It was just about having a little bit more patience to stay in and that's what he did at the beginning. It was easy for him towards the end."

Chawla added pace bowler Hutchinson was "seaming the ball in" at a good clip and "hitting very good areas".

Chawla, also a cricket coach, is in his third season with Norths after moving to Wellington with his wife, who is studying at Victoria University.

Defending champions Eastern Suburbs became the first team to qualify for the Pearce Cup thanks to a 39-run win over Upper Hutt. Skipper Lance Dry claimed 4-17 with his leg-spin as Upper Hutt were dismissed for 147.

Onslow chased well to beat University with two balls and four wickets to spare.

The students compiled 235-6 as opener Matthew Lewis continued his fine form to score 112 before being stumped off the bowling of Barry Rhodes.

Batting at No 3, Rhodes then paced the run chase with 105.

Naenae Old Boys recorded the upset of the round, winning the local derby against Taita by seven wickets.

Taita were skittled for just 105 and Matt Robins (50 not out) made short work of the chase.

Firebird Scott Kuggeleijn starred in Collegians' seven-wicket win over Petone-Eastbourne, taking three wickets and then belting 89 off 85 balls.

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Johnsonville beat Hutt District by three wickets with Firebird Luke Woodcock (48) anchoring the pursuit of 112.

- The Dominion Post

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