Star end lengthy Howden Cup drought

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 07/04/2014

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Star University have emphatically ended their lengthy Howden Cup drought, romping home by an innings and 25 runs in the three day final against Old Boys.

Captain Ben Speake made 104 in the first innings, assisted by a 131-run lower order partnership between Freddy Walker, 95, and Peter West, 77.

West turned it on with the ball, too, claiming two wickets in his first over and 4-42 in Old Boys first innings to claim man of the match honours.

Old Boys couldn't muster a challenge with the bat, falling for 152 all out early on Day 3, before Star enforced the follow on and then restricted them to 173 all out in the second dig.

"We're all pretty excited," Star captain Ben Speake said.

"We played really well, especially the batting effort being put in on a green one. I'm really happy with how we played all three days.

"That first day the wicket was really soft, but it was key that we got through. The next morning it was pretty hard, and it got better throughout the three days."

The only battle Ricoh Old Boys ended up winning was the coin toss, where they inserted The Bank Star University on Friday after spending most of the day waiting for the pitch to dry.

After heavy rain on Thursday, the players waited until 4pm Friday to get onto the park, where Old Boys couldn't take advantage of the conditions.

Star batted patiently as light faded on Friday evening, ending on 116-3 with captain Ben Speake at the wicket.

Speake played every part the captains knock, staying at the crease throughout Saturday morning before bringing up a stubborn hundred.

By the time he departed number eight batsman Peter West and number nine Freddy Walker were ready to inflict some damage on the tiring Old Boys bowling attack.

Their 131-run partnership steered Star through to 350 all out at tea on Day 2, with West ending on 77 and Walker on 95.

"We could easily have folded for 220, 230, but they pushed us through to 350 and that was huge for us. It was a great effort," Speake said.

West had his tail up after his innings with the bat, and in his first over of the innings tore through the Old Boys top order, leaving them reeling at 0-2.

Old Boys recovered to end the session on 46-4, but fell early on Day 3 to be all out for 152. Tim Seifert was the only real resistance, scoring 52, as West claimed 4-42 with the ball.

Trailing by 198 runs after the first innings, Old Boys were sent in to bat again, and Star picked up where they left off in the first innings, claiming wickets at regular intervals.

West, Walker and Star's other bowlers shared the wickets, as Old Boys limped through to 173 all out to lose by an innings and 25 runs.

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It is Star's first Howden Cup success since 1997, when a young Daniel Vettori claimed 10 wickets in the match.

AT A GLANCE

Star University 350 (Ben Speake 104, Freddy Walker 95, Peter West 77) beat Old Boys 152 (Tim Seifert 52; Peter West 4-42) and 173, by an innings and 25 runs. 

- Waikato Times

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