Stratford's Tom Bruce signalled his return to Taranaki club cricket with a century against New Plymouth Old Boys on day one of a two-day premier grade match at Stratford.
The talented top-order batsman missed Taranaki's match against Manawatu but is sure to be included in the squad for the next rep match against Wairarapa in New Plymouth this weekend after scoring 118 batting at No 3.
Bruce, who has just returned from university in Christchurch, hit one six and 20 fours in his innings and put on 60 for the seventh wicket with Mark Mekalick, who made 26 to hold the Stratford innings together and help his side through to 203.
Jamie Watkins was the best of the Old Boys bowlers with 5-46, receiving good support from Warwick Millar, who took 3-36.
Old Boys replied with 226-6 to pick up first-innings points, with Matt Shaw leading the way with 77. James McDougall (43) and Ben Hitchcock (32) were others to find form with the bat.
A hat-trick was the highlight on day one of the match between Hawera United and New Plymouth Boys' High School at Hawera.
Just when the school side was threatening to push on after topping the 200-mark batting first, Chris Hughes struck for Hawera picking up the last three wickets - the first caught, the second bowled and the third trapped leg before wicket. Hughes finished with figures of 4-13, with Boys' High dismissed for 209.
Top scorers for Boys' High were Rupert Young (67) and Mason Farrant (38).
At stumps, Hawera were in some trouble at 115-6, with their hopes resting with Trent McGrath, who was unbeaten on 46. Pace bowler Henry Boon had done most of the damage with 4-28.
An early finish in the match between Francis Douglas Memorial College and Woodleigh at New Plymouth's Sutherland Park is on the cards.
Wickets were far easier to come by than runs on day one, with the school side rolled for 89 batting first and Woodleigh managing little better when scoring 100. The school side fared better in their second innings making it through to 127-7 at stumps to lead by 116 runs heading into day two.
None of the Francis Douglas batsmen made it to 20 runs in the first innings - the leading scorers being Peter Ingram and Daniel Bernet with 18.
Chief destroyer for Woodleigh was Hayden Whiting who picked up a five-wicket bag at a cost of 38 runs. Andrew Mason chipped in with 3-25.
Woodleigh's first innings was dominated by Luke Duckett (41) and Phil Barraclough (21) with young bowler Jordie Barrett taking 5-30.
Batting in their second innings, Ingram finished the day unbeaten on 77 with Whiting again the pick of the Woodleigh bowlers with 3-28.
New Plymouth Marist United will have to dig their way out of trouble against Inglewood at Inglewood on Saturday.
Honours on the first day went to Inglewood. After declaring at 279-9 thanks mainly to a hard-hit 69 by Hayden McIntyre and solid knocks by Matt Simpson (50) and Paul Petrowski (47). Best of the United bowlers were Sam Wells and Ryan Watson who both took three wickets.
United lost two wickets in the first over and limped through to 49-3 at stumps. Inglewood couldn't have wished for a better opening over from Martin Keegan who picked up the wickets of Matt Sim and Shaun Lance. Keegan finished the day with 2-25, with Leith Johnston 19 not out and Jason Meuli 20 not out.
Batting T Bruce (Stratford) 118 P Ingram (FDMC) 77no M Shaw (NPOB) 77 H McIntyre (Inglewood) 69 R Young (NPBHS) 67 M Simpson (Inglewood) 50 Bowling J Watkins (NPOB) 5-46 H Whiting (Woodleigh) 5-38 J Barrett (FDMC) 5-30
- Taranaki Daily News
Does more need to be done to protect NZ passports?