Karori come back from dead, twice in two days

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013

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The sleeping giants have been woken.

By their own admission Karori haven't been the force of previous seasons.

But they sounded a couple of ominous warnings over the weekend by recording the only Pearce Cup outright on Saturday and then beating Taita by five runs in yesterday's Twenty20 final at Karori Park.

In both games Karori were in seemingly inescapable holes, before somehow finding a way out.

They were 38-5 against Taita and it was only the efforts of allrounders Jarred Sewell (31) and Lee Edwards (34) that got them a semi-defendable total of 140.

Taita chased well, with the sixth-wicket partnership of Dave Houghton and Chris Tait comfortably matching the 10-an-over required down the stretch.

With two balls remaining Taita needed seven to win and looked to have got four of them when Houghton launched a searing drive over cover. Except Karori captain Hamish Templeton hauled in a screamer and that was that.

"I thought it had gone past me but I just managed to catch up with it. Lucky, because that was the game gone right there," Templeton said.

Still, it wasn't the most remarkable moment of Taita's innings. That had come a few overs earlier when star batsman Henry Walsh walked on six.

Having been well caught by Tom Blundell, who was standing up to medium pacer Misty Jones-Middleton, Walsh nervously paced about, looking for all the world a man who ought to be given out.

Only he wasn't and instead of gratefully accepting his good fortune, the New Zealand under-19 batsman wandered off.

"Hats off to Henry Walsh. He's one of the brightest prospects in Wellington cricket and in a tense final he knew that he hit it so he walked and you can't say enough about that. That kid's got a bright future and to see that means he's a bloody good guy as well," Templeton said.

He was closely followed by captain Mark Houghton and at 70-5 Taita looked done. But Dave Houghton (47 off 36) played an attractive and thoughtful hand and could probably count himself unlucky at the end.

The spoils were Karori's, though, following Saturday's remarkable outright over Collegians.

Bowled out for 87, in reply to 236, Karori were asked to follow-on. They made 303-8 second time round, then rolled Collegians for 138 to win by 16 runs with just two balls remaining.

"Ridiculous game. The poor Collegians boys thought they had it sewn up and we just pulled a Houdini act," Templeton said.

"We're very hot and cold at the moment and still in third gear I think . . . but when we're on we're on. It's a weekend like this where we've managed to come out on top in two really close games that can build good momentum for the lads."

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Saturday's win leaves Karori in second place on the Pearce Cup standings, 12 points behind leaders Eastern Suburbs and seven ahead of Taita in third.

Easts and Taita both had to settle for draws, while there were outrights to Petone-Eastbourne, Johnsonville and Upper Hutt in the Hazlett Trophy.

Upper Hutt beat Naenae Old Boys by 182 runs, Johnsonville handed Easts B an innings and 39-run thrashing and Petone beat Wainuiomata by four wickets.

Contact Hamish Bidwell
Sports reporter
Email: hamish.bidwell@dompost.co.nz

- The Dominion Post

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