Onslow collected their maiden premier one-day title when they beat Johnsonville at a packed Nairnville Park on Sunday. On a glorious Wellington day with the temperature tipping 28 a large crowd rolled into Nairnville Park to watch the first final for both sides.
Johnsonville won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch that looked like a par score should have been 250 plus. Onslow’s bowling attack looked strong as they welcomed back Firebirds Brent Arnel and Matt McEwan. Johnsonville opened up with their own Firebird Luke Woodcock and former NZ U19 player Rakitha Weerasundara. The pair survived a fiery and accurate spell from the representitive bowlers but it was the change bowler who did the damage. After being hit through the covers for four Alex Ridley hit the right line and length and trapped Woodcock dead in front for 7. Rob Newton and Weerasundara set about slowly building some runs and at 58/1 after 18 Johnsonville were reasonably placed. First ball of Sean O’connor’s spell Weerasundara tried to go big and got a top edge which went straight up and was safely pouched by Corey Larsen.
This triggered a collapse for Johnsonville. Next over Newton fell lbw to Bannatyne for 18. at 72/3 the last thing Johnsonville needed was a run out but between Chris Leach and Hareen Silva they managed to conjure one up. Leach hit the ball backward of point and there was always one but Silva must have been ball watching and did not move from his spot at the non-strikers end. Silva departed himself not long after caught behind off the bowling of Bannatyne. Johnsonville were struggling to hit gaps and finding runs. Scott Mudgway came in tried to push the scoring along. He got a life off the bowling of Ridley as he tried to go over deep cover, Corey Larsen looked to have it covered but it dropped on him just at the last moment. Next over Mudgway tried to repeat the shot and replicated it exactly, this time Larsen made no mistake and Johnsonville were 91/6. An attempt by the tail to try and bat out the 50 was undermined by Onslow bringing back Arnel and McEwan. Between them they wrapped up the tail and when Arnel bowled Scott Edgecombe in the 45th over Johnsonville were all out for 119. Arnel finished the best of the bowlers with 7.2 overs 3 wickets for 18 but the screws were really applied by Sean O’Connor. He only picked up the one wicket but his 10 overs for just 17 really put pressure on the Johnsonville batsman.
If Johnsonville were to have any chance of grabbing an unlikely victory they needed to strike early. First ball David Hudson had a huge appeal against Andrew Fletcher turned down which can’t have been too far away. Fletcher played and missed at the next couple before managing to get bat to ball and get off strike. The final ball of the over Hudson struck as he nicked out Ben Shields giving Johnsonville a sniff. First ball of the next over it got even better for Johnsonville as Fletcher hit the ball to point a small misfield confused the batsman and Captain Sean O’connor was run-out without facing a ball.
Chasing such a small total Onslow were afforded the luxury of being able to take their time in rebuilding their innings. Arana Noema-Barnett and Fletcher controlled the tempo and scored runs when they needed to. In the 25th over Onslow were on 65 when Noema-Barnett hit a catch straight to
Johnsonville captain Andrew Stirrat. 2 overs later Hudson picked up another wicket to Johnsonville the slimmest of hopes. Corey Larsen and Andrew Fletcher quickly put paid to that hope and in the 39th over knocked off the required runs and Onslow had their maiden One-Day title.
The Onslow camp celebrated their victory and paid thanks to a wonderful crowd who came out to support the day. Both sides remarkedd in the presentation how they have turned things around since last year and both firmly have their sights set on the Pearce Cup Final in April.
The full scorecard of the game can be found here: https://www.crichq.com/#matches/218223
(story from cricketwellington.co.nz)