Magic Wanden finds old touch

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013

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Taiita's cricket development officer Nick Wanden did his credentials no harm by scoring 151 on Saturday.

The only downside for Taita was that Wanden was playing for University.

"Yeah, it was good to get it in front of the bosses and that," Wanden said after his 191-ball innings at Fraser Park.

The 23-year-old's highest club score helped University post 305 batting first, with Taita 53 for one at stumps after the first day of the Pearce Cup two-day match.

Wanden's day job involves him sending out Taita players to coach at nearby schools and once he got a few runs on the board on Saturday he expected a few of them to fire up.

"There was a bit of stuff like ‘he's playing for his pay cheque' but it was all in good humour," he said.

Even if the banter had been more pointed, it wouldn't have been enough to wipe the smile off Wanden's face. He'd been "lean on runs this season" and didn't feel like that was about to change against Taita.

"Nah, I was terrible at the start. I was even worse when I was getting throw-downs before the game, but after I got to about 30-odd it just started to come back to me and it was pretty enjoyable after that," he said.

It was just as well Wanden did find some nick because none of University's other batsmen produced much. He'd come in at 59 for four, which was soon 86 for six, and then 153 for eight when Simon Thomas joined him.

The pair then added 143, a University club record for the ninth wicket, before Wanden was the last man out at 305.

"I was really happy. We celebrated pretty heavily last night," Wanden said yesterday.

The Victoria University graduate came to Wellington from Auckland's Sacred Heart College and it isn't only in cricket where he's made an impression. His performances at halfback for Marist St Pat's haven't gone un-noticed either.

"It's getting a bit hard to do both at the moment, with pre-season and all," he said.

"It's still do-able at this level if you've got coaches that understand your situation. There are some guys that demand that you pick one, but I've been lucky so far."

So, which is his favourite?

"At school it was definitely cricket, but in the last couple of years I've probably done better on the rugby field.

"I don't know; after you score 150 you kind of have to say cricket don't you?"

The rest of the day's Pearce Cup and Hazlett Trophy games weren't hugely eventful.

Pearce Cup leaders Eastern Suburbs have some work to do to progress from 113 for four and past Onslow's 278, while Karori are 39 for three in reply to Collegians' 236. Karori conceded 44 extras in that 236, which was second-top score.

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In the Hazlett, Upper Hutt made 104 and are 192 for three in their second innings after bowling Naenae out for 102 in between.

North City got first innings points against Hutt District, while Johnsonville are well on top of Easts' B team. Wainuiomata reduced Petone-Eastbourne 138 for eight in reply to their 216.

- The Dominion Post

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