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Cricket - Otago/Southland Secondary School Finals

Our 1st XI cricket team played in the Otago/Southland Secondary School Finals.

Game 1

First up was a semi-final against King’s High School.

This was a tight match that went right down to the wire. King's eventually held onto their nerve and came out victorious by 1 solitary wicket.

Southland Boys' High School captain Zach Harrington won the toss and decided to bat on a used, slow pitch. We were immediately in big trouble at 6-55 after only 18 overs of the allotted 50 overs. However, our lower order started to rebuild, with Angus Burnett on his birthday getting 30 runs and at a disastrous 9-111 it was left to the Hopcroft brothers to get some sort of target for the team to defend.  Charlie and Henry batted more than 15 overs to add 43 runs onto the total and showed the top order how to play (block the good balls and score off the bad balls - something that would have helped earlier on in the day). Charlie was last out for a well compiled 21 runs off 41 balls, while Henry was not out 7 runs from 19 balls.

This meant Southland Boys' High School had 154 runs to defend, which was a lot better than it could have been. King's got off to a great start with some poor bowling in between some great balls. Unfortunately, King's kept these good balls out and after 15 overs they were 72-2 runs.  

This saw Otago under 19 spinner, Shahen Wijesinghe, come to the wicket and he immediately started to trouble the King's batsmen and put a huge amount of pressure on them. After 8 overs from Shahen, King's had moved from 72-2 to 114-5 with all 3 wickets to Shahen for only 9 runs to his name.

Shahen’s 9th over changed the whole game with a double wicket maiden (2 wickets for 0 runs from 6 balls) as King's slumped to 120-7 still 35 runs from victory. Shahen ended his bowling spell with 10 overs, 5 wickets for 11 runs.

Two overs later, Duncan Tait picked up the eighth King's wicket with 13 runs still needed. With 2 runs to win for King's, Charlie Hopcroft knocked over the number 10’s stumps to make it 153-9 with Southland Boys' High School still in the hunt for the win.  

Unfortunately, the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way and King's snuck through for the win with the final pair at the wicket. An exciting game where the team kept fighting right to the end of the game - never giving up - with the potential to have won the game had we held our catches.

Game 2

The next day in the playoff for 3rd and 4th against John McGlashan College (JMC). Southland Boys' High School came out on top with what seemed an unlikely 17 run win and 3rd place.

After losing the toss, Southland Boys' High School were put into bat with the batsmen initially applying themselves and at drinks we were looking comfortable at 97-2 off 17 overs. Opening the innings, Zach Harrington made 29 runs off 26 balls while Duncan Tait was not out on 41 runs off 29 balls and Jack Claridge not out on 24 runs. However, as has happened throughout the cricket season, our batsmen once again through away a prime opportunity. After the drinks break, we lost 8 wickets for 66 runs to be bowled out for 163 in the 41st over. Extremely frustrating after such a great start!

This frustration turned to pure agony with JMC scoring 60 runs from the first 3 overs. Yes, you are reading that correctly, 60 runs! This poor bowling display saw the previous day’s strike bowler, Shahen Wijesinghe, come to the bowling crease very early in only the 5th over, and again, Shahen picked up a wicket with just his 3rd ball to reduce JMC to 69-1.  

Angus Burnett supported Shahen by slowing the scoring rate dramatically and also picked up a wicket. After 14 overs, JMC had moved to 107-2 only requiring 57 runs from 36 overs with 8 wickets in hand. At this stage we looked down and out but a strongly worded and very stern team talk from Shahen seemed to lift the team.  

Lead by Shahen and Angus, the next 6 overs saw JMC move to 127-7 losing 5 wickets for only 20 runs still needing another 37 runs to win. Angus picked up 3 wickets and Shahen added another 2 wickets to his tally. As with the previous game, Shahen picked up 2 wickets in his final over pushing JMC to 135-9 and his bowling figures to an impressive 10 overs, 6 wickets for 31 runs. Duncan Tait got the last wicket, having JMC all out for 146, an unlikely 17 run win to Southland Boys' High School, and a much more pleasant van trip back to Invercargill than it was previously looking.

Shahen Wijesinghe was the bowler of the tournament - bowling 20 over 5 maidens 42 runs and 11 wickets.

A big thank you to coaches (Mr Skelt Jnr and Mr Billcliff), manager (Alistair Burnett) and parents who helped out throughout the season.

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