A 250-run partnership, two five-wicket hauls and two draws in opening round of Fergus Hickey Rosebowl

Published on 09 Nov 2019

The 2019-20 Fergus Hickey Rosebowl has seen two stalemates in the opening weekend of the competition with some impressive play by all four sides on display.

Waikato Valley hosted Counties Manukau at St. Paul's Collegiate, while Hamilton welcomed Northland to Hamilton Boys' High School.

It was a case of bat ruling ball at St. Paul's as Counties' Luke Williamson and Katene Clarke both registered tons in the first innings.

They took two different approaches to reach their milestones, as the more-circumspect Williamson made 101 not out off 202 balls, while the belligerent Clarke plundered 158 off 150 balls; his first century for Counties Manukau at this level.

The two shared a 250-run partnership as Counties scored 324/3 declared.

The Waikato Valley batsmen then picked-up where Counties had left off, Dillon Kelliher and Alex Wilton, on his debut for Waikato Valley, both posted half-centuries in a record first-wicket partnership for Waikato Valley of 123.

Chris Swanson came in at number four, posting a half-century of his own as Waikato Valley reached 234/3 before play was called and the match declared a draw.

If this game was all about the bat, the Northland/Hamilton game was all about the ball; for the first innings at least.

A ruthless Hamilton bowling display removed Northland for 81. Anurag Verma was the chief destroyer, recording figures of 5-23 as the Northerners were dismissed inside 36 overs.

While Hamilton fared better with the bat, Northland still managed to take wickets at regular intervals to at least keep themselves in the game, if only just.

An 86-run fifth-wicket partnership between Anish Desai (43) and top-scorer Peter Bocock (53) was the highlight of the innings for Hamilton as they posted 253/9 declared; the game witnessing a second five-for as Ben Hyde took 5-76.

This gave Hamilton a healthy first innings lead of 171, and with time running out to get a result on day two and Northland being 31/0 in their second innings, a second draw of the weekend was called.