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Prems fall in final

The Premier side have had an indifferent start to 2013. Successive T20 wins over Hibiscus Coast and North Shore have been split by losses to Cornwall, Birkenhead and University in the 50 over competition. The T20 wins booked a spot in the Plate final against Grafton. ACA tossed a coin and the final was ours to host. Grafton won the toss and elected to bat. Two maidens and early wickets put them on the back foot, but they managed to put together a couple of match-defining partnerships. Grafton made it to 150/7 off their 20 overs. Scott Curtis finished with 4/26 off his four overs. We didnt get off to the best of starts losing a wicket to the second ball. Aaron Jeavons and Aditya Dhadwal combined well to put on 59 for the second wicket and get the innings back on track. When Aaron (34) and Aditya (29) departed wickets fell regularly and the run-rate climbed. Faasao Mulivai (18) pleased the crowd and offered some hope with three sixes. Unfortunately the task was too big and we fell short by 47 runs. The Premier squad would like to thank everybody for the support received during the campaign. Unfortunately we didnt come away with the silverware, but it was a great crowd down at the club for the final.

The Baggy Blue

This year the club introduced the old cricket tradition of the baggy cap to the senior ranks. Committee member and Premier Reserve coach Chris Reid put forward a proposal to Vernon Logistics owner Neil Vernon to sponsor the baggies with the thought being that they would act as an incentive and reward for a players hard work. A set of criteria was created based on last years results with the idea being that a level of excellence would need to be achieved for a player to secure a baggy blue. The decision was made to get a navy blue cap for the premier side and a royal blue cap for all the other grades. The baggy caps have been a huge success and have provided week to week interest with the top 10 performers being updated on the clubs Facebook page. The race for the first baggy blue was won by the clubs overseas professional Aaron Jeavons who reached the all-rounders criteria of 300 runs and 20 wickets before Christmas! Subsequently we have had Praneel Hira and Scott Curtis secure Premier baggys and Hayden Pye-Redfearn, Kevin Samson, and Kevin Riley secure grade baggies. Based on the previous season we would have only given away 8 baggies so to have already given away six with four two-day games remaining it would appear the caps have had the desired effect of driving players to excel. There also currently sits no fewer than 12 players who have achieved 80% of their respective criteria or better so we certainly hope to be giving out plenty more baggys before the end of the season.

Senior Bs take One Day pennant
With a largely new-look team this season the Senior Bs were set for an exciting and challenging time. Recruitment during the pre-season and early games saw some new players come to the club and contribute greatly both on and off the field. Scott Dixon came to us from Cornwall thanks to a bit of encouragement from Rob Maxwell and the recruitment of Ben and Josh Carmody thanks to Heath Moore have proven to significantly strengthen to the team. The side faced some tough challenges playing against third sides from clubs such as Cornwall, Takapuna, Parnell, North Shore, Birkenhead along with Kumeus second side in a fourth grade competition. The season started off well with a strong victory over Cornwall at home, followed by a disappointing loss to Suburbs New Lynn at Eastdale in a game we should have easily won. Unfortunately for our next opponents, Birkenhead, they were the first game of our undefeated streak to finish the 1-day competition. After posting an average total of 142 it was up to the bowlers. Led by Ben Carmodys big inswingers, we dismissed a helpless Birkenhead for 53, Ben picking up his best figures of 5 for 10 in the process. Next on the hit list was Kumeu and we had them on the back foot, dismissing them for 112. This time it was Josh Carmody who lead us to an 8 wicket victory and an important half bonus point with a great knock of 45. Parnell defaulted against us but as no other play was achieved we only picked up 1.5 points. First up after Christmas were North Shore back over in Devonport on a thick green seamer; a good toss to win. After a devastating opening spell from Chris Jeffries (3/10) it was up to Shivneel Singh to finish things up with figures of 4/1 off 1.3 overs, including a hat-trick and leaving us a mere 39 runs to record a victory. Kev Riley and Josh went about their work in their normal determined style and managed to knock the runs off without the fall of a wicket returning another important bonus point. Now the stage was set for fantastic final week of one day cricket in the B1 grade. Takapuna, our final opponents were on top of the table 1.5 points clear. We were in second followed closely by Cornwall 0.6 points behind us. The equation was simple, we had to beat Takapuna and hope Cornwall didnt score too many runs to secure the title. The game didnt start so well, losing the toss, although fielding first was probably our preferred option anyway. However, they raced to 58 without loss after just 8 overs. A sharp short ball from Shaun Vant Wout caught the glove on the way through and things started to happen. This was followed by a tight spell from Sam Whynn (3/16) and Ben (2/14) before Kev (2/15) and Mike Taylor (2/13) finished things up to have Takapuna dismissed for just 125. The response with the bat was nothing short of awesome with Kev and Josh methodically going about their work. Despite Josh being the most consistent with the bat for us in the one day comp he had yet to notch up a half century and looked as though he may well fall short again with the target getting closer and Kev reaching his half century first. This just seemed to make him more determined hitting the winning runs and ending up 56 not out with Kev (51 not out) at the other end to not only secure a dominant win but yet another bonus point. Some quick calculations were done and we deemed that Cornwall would have to score close to 300 to top us, not unachievable but we felt reasonably confident that we had done enough. Those calculations were soon getting worked through again as news that Cornwall had scored 290 in their game. Sure enough our calculations proved to be correct and once the manual adjustment of our bonus points was complete we won the title by 0.05 of a point, or 5 runs if you look at it that way!

Player Profile: Kevin Samson
It has been a year to remember for the young left-handed batsman. Runs, catches, wins, and a premier debut. It was only two seasons ago Kevin was a regular fixture in the Senior B side, not even on the premier radar. However, it has been a quick rise to the top after being promoted to the Senior As and then to Reserves inside a season. It has been this year where Kevin has firmly established himself as a quality reserves player and was rewarded for his good form, with a premier debut in November following a few 50s for the Reserves and Senior As. The 20 year-old has so far amassed 412 runs at an average of 37.5, already achieving his grade baggy. The former Kelston 1st XI player has been one of the most hard working players in the club this season and looks likely to be a regular fixture in the clubs Premier and Reserve sides for years to come. Age: 20 Nickname(s): Hester Proudest cricket moment: Making my Premier debut. Cricketing achievements? Representing Auckland & Western Districts at age group levels. Best cricket advice: Practice makes perfect. Best life advice: Believe in yourself. What do you do away from cricket? Im really into most sports not just cricket, so I spend a lot of my spare time watching or playing something. Goals for the season? 600+ runs. What is your favourite movie and why? Invincible. Because its uplifting, inspiring & based on a true story showing that even the most unlikely things can happen. Favorite Cricketer? Scott Styris Entrance song? Bill Conti - Gonna Fly Now If you could be anyone else, who would you be and why? Peyton Manning. One of the best quarterbacks to ever play football. In the last week, Hester scored his first Premier fifty against Eden Roskill. Congratulations, Kev. Lets hope it is the first of many.