Counties Manukau To Challenge For the Hawke Cup
Published on 27 Nov 2017
In a thrilling finish, Counties Manukau grabbed an outright win over Waikato Valley to surge to the top of the Spray Marks NZ Fergus Hickey competition. Nick Kelly was the hero as Counties Manukau chased down their target of 154 with only a couple of balls to spare. Kelly followed up his 91 in the first innings with 71 not out off only 52 balls in the second. Waikato Valley had been in with a chance as they captured wickets regularly during the run chase, but Kelly's power hitting was the decider. Earlier Chris Swanson had played Waikato Valley back into the game with a magnificent 176 not out in their second innings. It was an outstanding game for Swanson, as he top scored with 74 in Valley's first innings as well.
At the same time Hamilton and Northland were locked in a battle for first innings points. After a solid start the Hamilton innings faltered, but experienced campaigners Brook Hatwell  and Mike Dodunski [ 52] saw them get maximum batting bonus points and reach a challenging 351/9 declared. Northland seemed to be well on the way to reaching their target when Henry Cooper  and Neal Parlane  were together. The run out of Cooper proved crucial and Northland then folded to be all out for 238.
Hamilton's 10 points from the game moved them to top of the calendar year points chart to find Northern Districts' challenger for the Hawke Cup. However, any jubilation was short lived as soon afterwards they were joined on 41 points by Counties Manukau. On countback, determined by who won the game between the two teams, Counties Manukau earned the right to challenge. Two weeks previously they had beaten Hamilton by 330 runs.
Counties Manukau now go on to challenge holders Bay of Plenty for the prestigious Hawke Cup, symbol of supremacy amongst District Associations in New Zealand. They take with them hard lessons from their previous challenge last season, when Bay of Plenty kept them in the field for over two days in amassing a record score of 701.
Hamilton 351/9 declared [ O.Ivins 35,C.Aislabie 40, A.Desai 48,P.Bocock 34,B.Hatwell 90, M.Dodunski 52,B.Hyde 4/63,C.Boswell-Smith 3/70]
Northland 238 [H.Cooper 113,N.Parlane 60,M.Taylor 36, J.Walker 4/55]
Hamilton 10 pts, Northland 3 points
Waikato Valley 158 [C.Swanson 74, D.Kelliher 31,R.Somani 4/42, C.Hunter 4/17] and 275/8 declared [Swanson 176 not out, N.Kelly 3/73]
Counties Manukau 280 [N.Kelly 91, L.Williamson 39, A.Vodnala 40, R.Umasuthan 40 not out, K.Clarke 4/66, S.Morbey 4/58] and 154/7 [N.Kelly 71 not out, S.Varcoe 38, S Sistern-Tate 5/49]
CM 13 points, WV 3 points
Hawke Cup Points: CM 41, Hamilton 41, Northland 34, WV 28.
Fergus Hickey Points after 2 rounds: CM 23, Northland 13, Hamilton 11, BOP 6, WV 3.