Maiden ton as clubs end round

WAYNE MARTIN
Last updated 13:00 10/12/2012

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Joe O'Connor scored his maiden club century as Wanderers fell just one wicket short of a dramatic outright win over Wakatu on Saturday.

With top qualifiers Waimea Toi Toi United and Stoke-Nayland already confirmed as next week's finalists, the remaining four teams were merely completing the last rites in the fifth and final round of the Nelson two-day cricket championship.

Wanderers had already conceded first-innings points after Wakatu had declared seven runs ahead on their overnight score of 207 for eight at Brightwater.

So Wanderers' batsmen took the opportunity to score some runs on Saturday and, with O'Connor and Tom Cross dominating the action, the home team eventually piled on an impressive 318 for seven declared in a positive second-innings batting display.

Openers Dan Cooper (48) and Adam Leonard (34) had added 68 runs together at the top of the order to help kickstart the innings.

Leonard and O'Connor added a further 36 runs for the second wicket, but it was the superb 156-run fourth-wicket stand between O'Connor and Cross that set the innings alight as both marched relentlessly toward individual centuries.

Cross eventually fell nine runs short, gone for 91 at 261 for four, the right-hander hitting 11 fours and a six off 100 balls in an impressive knock.

O'Connor's 50 had come in even time off just 49 balls, although he struggled through the 90s, surviving several nervous chances before finally hitting his 10th and final boundary to bring up his 100 off 94 balls and prompt the declaration. His innings also included one six.

Wakatu struggled in their reply as a scratchy 47 for three quickly became a desperate 65 for six as Matt Marquet, Shane Laurence and Campbell Mclean all went without scoring, Macquet and McLean both first ball.

Richie Wilkinson (20) and Dan Hooper (23) had attempted to hold the innings together, although with the innings in danger of total collapse at 95 for eight, a fighting 52-run partnership between Nathan Du Feu and Bud Jackson ultimately saved Wakatu from outright defeat.

Jackson eventually went for 20 at 147 for nine, leaving Du Feu and Jay Wright to bat out the final 10 balls and end the match at 152 for nine, Du Feu finishing unbeaten on 25 off 59 balls. Tim Field took three for 13 and legspinner Brodie Hanna two for 44 as Wanderers' leading wicket-takers.

Meanwhile, Motueka retained the Bevan Congdon Shield against Athletic College Old Boys in Motueka after their game petered out to a draw.

Motueka were still able to enforce the follow-on at Memorial Park after Old Boys, resuming day two at 54 for one, were dismissed for just 170 in their first innings.

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That left them 122 runs short of Motueka's 292-run first-innings total and still 23 short of avoiding the follow-on. But after left-arm seamer Dan Rae had led an effective Motueka first-innings bowling attack, they couldn't make any significant inroads into Old Boys' second innings, with Old Boys ending the match at 63 for one with Tony Watkins (28) and Sam Burgess (23) the not-out batsmen.

No covers and a damp wicket had meant a late start, with Rae in particular exploiting the helpful bowling conditions to finish with five for 68 off his 22 overs. Greg Chitty (37), Brodie Norris (31) and Luke Toynbee (26) all made starts but with Craig Hampton (3-31) providing useful support for Rae, Motueka's bowlers proved too demanding on a fresh pitch.

Waimea Toi Toi United ended the round-robin series on 69 points, with Stoke-Nayland on 63, Wanderers 33, Wakatu 32, Motueka 30 and Athletic College Old Boys 26.

- The Nelson Mail

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