New Plymouth's Marist United are off to Auckland for the national one-day club cricket championships in April.
Wins in the Central Regional finals in Palmerston North against Central Hawke's Bay on Saturday and Levin Old Boys yesterday sealed Marist United their national champs' berth.
Nag ‘n' Noggin Marist United will now go up against the top one-day club teams from the other four major cricketing associations in New Zealand at a week long tournament at Cornwall Park in Auckland.
It is the third time since 2007 that the New Plymouth club has won the Central Districts zone spot.
"The boys are stoked to be going back up there [to Auckland]," said Marist top-order batsman Dean Robinson when travelling home to New Plymouth last night following the successful weekend.
"It's a big achievement to win the CD region playoffs so we're pretty happy."
On Saturday, Marist United got home against Central Hawke's Bay with 14 balls to spare in a thriller.
Batting first, Central Hawke's Bay were dismissed on the second last ball of the 50th over for 227.
Leading wicket-takers were Sam Barrett (3-34 off six overs) and Josh Barrett (3-44).
Marist United made a flying start to their run chase with the opening pair of Robinson and Jason Meuli combining for a 91-run partnership.
Leith Johnston also batted well and made 40, with Jarred Cunningham chipping in with a well-hit 36 before Ryan Bridgeman hit the winning run as Marist finished their innings with just two wickets in hand.
Yesterday, Marist United took Horowhenua top dogs Levin Old Boys who had scored an upset win over top Nelson team Waimea Toi Toi in their semifinal on Saturday.
Marist United won the toss and batting first were in big trouble early at 54-7. Enter Leith Johnston who made a match-winning 95.
Marist United were on 117 when losing their ninth wicket, but Johnston and Sam Wells put on 60 runs for the 10th wicket to push the side to a competitive 169 on a flat wicket that was taking spin.
For Levin Old Boys, Caleb Gayland took 6-22 off his 10 overs.
Marist United got to bowl five overs to Levin Old Boys before lunch and had them 11-3.
After the re-start, Levin lost wickets regularly, with Cunningham (4-18) doing most of the damage. Levin were dismissed in the 35th over for 81 runs.
Marist United finished a creditable third in the 2011 national one-day club championships.
Scorers: Game one - Central Hawke's Bay 227 (S McConville 85, H Lewis 42, S Schaw 27, A Schaw 22; S Barrett 3-34, J Barrett 3-44) lost to New Plymouth Marist United 229-8 (D Robinson 47, J Meuli 42, L Johnston 40, Jarred Cunningham 36; D Phillips 3-44, A Schaw 2-37.
Game two: New Plymouth Marist United 169 (L Johnston 95, R Bridgeman 17; C Gayland 6-22) beat Levin Old Boys 81 (J Cunningham (4-18).
- Taranaki Daily News
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