Nelson overcame unseasonal weather and some close calls to share the title with Otago Country as joint winners of last week's 2014 South Island primary schools cricket tournament in Gore.
With the daytime high temperatures being similar to Nelson's night-time lows, heavy rain and arctic blast showers resulted in players fielding in beanies. The bad weather meant that play was possible on only three of the five scheduled days, so points were critical.
Nelson had to work hard to beat Invercargill Metro in their opening game. After an excellent bowling display, Nelson were set a target of 60 to secure a first innings win.
After slumping to an alarming six for five wickets, things were looking grim until a solid eighth-wicket partnership between all-rounders Jarrod McKay (21) and Findlay Young (24 not out) enabled Nelson to declare at 69 for eight. Invercargill Metro were 40 for eight in their second innings.
Some exceptional bowling figures were recorded with medium pacers Lucas Hogg (3-0) and Young (2-6) and the spin trio of David Zohrab (5-3), Josh Simpson (4-12) and Sam Halsey (2-10) causing real problems for the opposition.
Game two resulted in a tense first innings tie against Dunedin Metro.
More superb Nelson bowling saw them restrict Dunedin to 87 runs, the damage this time done by Sam Kininmonth (3-16) and Halsey (3-6).
In reply, Nelson's top order batsmen never fired as the middle and lower order steadily chipped away to tie the scores off the last ball. Josh Newport was the solid patient anchor, scoring six runs from 79 deliveries, enabling Young (15) and skipper Fergus Murray (15 not out) to keep the score moving.
Friday's final game was against a spirited and unbeaten Canterbury Country team who batted first to score 118 for nine declared. Spin again proved the key with Simpson (4-10) and Halsey (2-26) the main destroyers.
Wicketkeeper Thomas Zohrab was rewarded for his great glovework throughout the tournament with a sharp stumping to remove Canterbury Country dangerman Jesse Frew for 13.
While Nelson's top order batsmen showed more resistance, it still came down to the final pairing of Daniel Endersby (the injured opener batting at No 11) and Halsey to score the winning runs with 10 balls to spare.
A great opener's knock from David Zohrab (29) and a rapid 30-run partnership between Thomas Zohrab (15) and Kininmonth (22) were crucial in Nelson's successful run chase.
With coach Jon Routhan unable to attend because of other Nelson Cricket commitments it was left to ring-ins Andrew Kininmonth and Grant Newport to assume the reins.
"The boys all took turns at stepping up and doing their bit for the team," Andrew Kininmonth said.
"Fergus led the team very well and it was great to see the boys supporting him and each other . . . they are a strong unit both on and off the field. "There is a huge amount of talent and potential in that team. They definitely did it the hard way, but I'm sure they have all learnt more from being involved in these high pressure close encounters."
Kininmonth said the team would also like to thank all the local businesses that supported them with funding and food.
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