'Cole as Ice': O'Connor Stars on Debut

The Premier side went into their first T20 game of the season with quiet confidence after some quality performances last season. Arch-rivals Naenae arrived at Fraser Park with an unfamiliar line-up and were asked to put the pads on. Sturt and Blomfield restricted Naenae early to 10-1 off the first 4 overs with some aggressive and disciplined bowling. Sullivan and debutante O'Connor then took control with the ball, with the off-spinner O'Connor taking 2 wickets in his first over and Sullivan bowling tight lines and lengths to finish with 2-18 off his 4 overs. O'Connor continued to get some sharp turn and bounce before strong hitting from Ware led the green and golds to a respectable 112. In reply, the hard hitting bash brothers of Dean and Le Gros got Taita off to a flying start by putting on 84 for the first wicket. At the fall of Le Gros' wicket, the game was as good as won. Veterinarian Crowley then dissected the remaining Naenae bowlers to finish the game off with plenty of time to spare before the 3pm fixture.

Upper Hutt arrived at Fraser Park buoyed by their comprehensive victory over perennial battlers, Wainuiomata. Winning the toss, Upper Hutt asked Sturt and Blomfield to take the new ball first once again and with some nice stroke making, ran at a run a ball for the first 7 overs. O'Connor and Sullivan then put the brakes on for the second time in the day, restricting the men from the north to 118 off their allotted overs. With an injury to Le Gros, Crowley stepped up to the crease and added a eye-pleasing 34 for the first wicket with Dean. Tunnicliffe's arrival then turned the game on its head. The powerful right-hander punished both poor and respectable deliveries, sending balls all over the park and into the Hutt River. 7 maximums later, Tunnifcliffe had finished the game in style to finish with 72 not out from only 37 balls. Dean also played confidently, striking 30 off 18 before being run out. When asked about the team's mood,  experienced campaigners Tunnicliffe and Sturt spoke exclusively to taitacricket.co.nz with Tunnicliffe stating that, 'Everyone is just working for each other, for the boys.' Sturt went on to add, 'Yeh, for the boys.' Team joker Sam McGavin then contributed insightfully towards the conversation, 'We knew it was nil-all at the start of the day and at the end of the day to some extent, but the boys dug deep when it counted and I am proud of them.' Gauging from the performances of the first two games, this should not be the only time this season when McGavin takes pride in his side.

 Written by Patrick Houghton

Written by Patrick Houghton

Check out the scorecard links below:

Taita V Naenae

Taita V Upper Hutt