Cricket – King’s win Year 9 NZCT tournament in dramatic fashion!

King’s win Year 9 NZCT tournament in dramatic fashion!

Over the course of last week, a team of our best year 9 cricketers played against 5 of the best schools in Auckland in a 40 over tournament, with the winner of the tournament earning the opportunity to represent Auckland at the Nationals championships in April 2019.

 The team started off the week playing against Mt Albert. After winning the toss, the boys had no hesitation to bowl first on a fresh grass wicket. After a cautious start from Mt Albert at 36-2 off 11 overs, wickets started tumbling at regular intervals with Mt Albert eventually out for 65 with Nick Tapper taking 3-9 and Tom Lindberg 2-7. In reply King’s were 45-1 and seemingly coasting to a big win. However a hatrick by one of the Mt Albert bowlers and some nervous shots meant the boys made hard work of the small total, eventually just scraping home with 8 wickets down.

 In their 2nd match against rivals St Kentigern, the team was able to keep them to 156 runs, a good effort considering the team gave away 50 extras! To the boys credit, they timed their run chase really well. With wickets in hand, they were able to accelerate in the last 20 overs and thanks to a brilliant 75 n/o from Nick Tapper the team won with 2 overs to spare.

 Confidence was high and the boys continued their winning ways against Auckland Grammar on day 3. Batting first, we were able to build a strong foundation with a 2nd wicket partnership of 91 between Karl Wallace (55) and Nick Tapper (46). With some late hitting from Tom Lindberg (30 off 15 balls) we reached 175. In reply the boys found their groove straight away and with Harrison Waymouth (4-38) ripping the top off their batting, King’s reduced Grammar to 128 all out to achieve a fairly comfortable victory.

Day 4 saw King’s come up against the only other unbeaten team Westlake, in a must win game. King’s bowled first and at 91-3 off 27 it looked like Westlake were set for a big total. However with some good tight bowling by Jonty Willis 2-23 and Josh Olliver 2-25, King’s were able to hold Westlake to 150 off 40 overs. Again the boys started cautiously knowing a solid platform with wickets in hand would be key. With a 70 run partnership between Nick Tapper and Josh Olliver moving the team to 106/3, it looked like a comfortable win was on the cards. However when Nick was dismissed for another well compiled 79 with the score at 130 the speed wobbles set it. In the end  it was up to James Wilson at number 9  to hit the winning runs on the last ball of the penultimate over for a great win.

Leading in to the last day the boys knew that a win against Sacred Heart would be enough to guarantee a place at the Nationals. However, Sacred Heart were out to spoil the party and batting first a 4th wicket partnership of 120 gave Sacred Heart momentum to put on a massive total of 214 off 40 overs.  The team set about chasing the imposing total well with the ever reliable Nick Tapper leading the way with a well made 60 runs. However, with the run rate building and wickets falling,  the team finally succumbed for 176 all out, some way short of the big total.

However, lady luck must have been smiling on us that day. With Westlake beating St Kentigern in the other fixture, it meant both Westlake and King’s were tied on points. Thanks to a superior net run rate over the course of the tournament, King’s were declared winners and advanced to the Nationals in April.

Massive congratulations to the team, who never gave up right until the end and a big thank you to the parents and supporters who gave up their time to assist in making this an enjoyable experience for the team.

It really was a team effort but it would be remiss of me not to mention Nick Tapper. Over the course of the week Nick scored an impressive 274 runs at an average of 68.5 and took 5 important wickets at average of 12.6