Wanderers charge comes too late and Stoke-Nayland take win
Stoke-Nayland resisted a late-charging Wanderers to claim a 10-run victory in Saturday's Nelson Twenty20 club cricket final.
It was top qualifier Taylors Contracting Wanderers' only loss of the series, with Car Company Stoke-Nayland also atoning for the previous week's embarrassing nine-wicket loss to Wanderers at Brightwater.
With Wanderers having already qualified for the Saxton Oval decider ahead of Saturday morning's fifth and final round, Stoke-Nayland and Harrington's Beer Cafe Waimea Toi Toi United were the only remaining teams in contention. Stoke-Nayland only needed a fifth-round victory over Athletic College Old Boys to qualify, which they achieved comfortably with a 60-run win at the Marsden Rec.
WTTU's five-wicket loss to Randles Cafe and Bar Wakatu at Jubilee Park merely reaffirmed the standings.
Led by a defiant Hayden Ingham, Wanderers threatened a remarkable recovery in the final, only for Stoke-Nayland to hold their nerve and seal a deserved victory.
Chasing Stoke-Nayland's total of 161 for 7, Wanderers had looked dead and buried after six wickets in as many overs saw them slump to a disastrous 83 for 8 at the end of the 12th over.
However, a stunning fightback, initially between Ingham and Dean Hawley, saw the pair pile on 41 runs off 28 balls before Hawley was eventually bowled by Mitchell Ross for 14 at 124 for 9.
With Wanderers still needing 38 runs off 21 balls for victory, Ingham found more reliable support in Tim Field as Ingham continued his confident, clean-hitting assault. A towering six by Ingham off Dylan Eginton off the first ball of the final over helped erode the 21 runs needed off the final six balls.
A single and a hard-run three eventually had Ingham back on strike with 11 runs required off three balls. But in his attempt to manufacture an intricate legside boundary, Ingham's miscue and attempted single finally saw Field run out for 11 and the title belonged to Stoke-Nayland.
Ingham's unbeaten 38-run innings off 26 balls, including three sixes and one four, might have dominated the game's death-throes, but it was Stoke-Nayland's bowlers, backed up by some slick and accurate fielding, that eventually eased them to victory.
Young Gus Riley underscored his towering presence at the crease with an impressive four-wicket bag (4-35), while Josh Sansom (2-19) provided some critical economy as Ingham, in particular, launched into his late assault.
Several Stoke-Nayland batsmen had earlier made valuable contributions as Paul Capstick (28), Ben Homan (24), Jake Beleski (25), Todd Marwick (21) and an unbeaten 27 off 18 balls by Brendan Hodgson, including two fours and a six, helped achieve some momentum. A sweetly struck four and six off the final two balls by Mitchell Ross ultimately proved significant.
Opener Tom Cross made a typically forthright statement at the top of Wanderers' order with 35 runs off 21 balls, hitting four fours and a six. But his departure at 55 for 3, bowled by Riley in the seventh over, began a calamitous slump, including the wickets of Jesse Pitman (4) and Tom Bloomberg (1) in one Riley over.
Greg Field (11) went at 83 for 8, setting the stage for a dramatic finish in which Stoke-Nayland's perseverance ultimately sealed the deal.
Earlier in the day, Mitchell Drummond had starred with the bat, hitting 80 off 48 balls in Stoke-Nayland's 60-run, fifth-round win over ACOB, Alex Coles scoring 44. Paul van Meekeren (3-16) was ACOB's best bowler, although Mitchell Ross took a stunning 5 for 3, Sansom 2 for 18 and Eginton 2 for 23 in a successful Stoke-Nayland bowling effort.
At Jubilee Park, Wakatu chased down WTTU's 121-run total to reach 122 for 5 with 11 balls to spare.
Cade Armstrong (25) top-scored for WTTU, with Campbell McLean (3-18) and Greg Du Feu (3-31) Wakatu's leading wicket-takers. Giles Black (35 not out), Shane Laurence (36) and Richie Wilkinson (19 not out) successfully led Wakatu's run chase.
Wanderers had also consolidated their top ranking with a tight two-wicket win over Sprig and Fern Tavern Motueka at Ben Cooper Park.
Skipper Kurt Pahl had top-scored in Motueka's innings of 134 for 6 with 56 runs off 43 balls, Dave Havili adding 21, before Wanderers finally reached 137 for 8 in the final over of their run chase, Ingham hitting consecutive boundaries to seal the win. Brodie Hanna had top-scored with 32, Dave Leonard contributing 26.
In the second-grade final played at Marsden Rec, Wakatu easily beat Waimea College by 8 wickets after replying to Waimea College's 102 off 19.2 overs with 104 for 2 with two overs to spare.