Saturday had our Prems lined up with a relatively unknown Johnsonville team. After intense discussions between captains, umpires, and the bureaucrats at Cricket Wellington, a delayed 35 over game was set up for the afternoon at Te Whiti Park. 100kph plus winds, short boundaries and a bouncy artificial, meant conditions were conducive to some aggressive batting.
Once Taita’s former resident Yea-Bo, A-Dot had returned his kit from last season, play was able to get underway with Johnsonville electing to take first Bat. The opening bowlers did a good job at keeping the batters contained with Sturt managing to remove the top two. It was always going to be a challenge for the boys working in to the wind but considering the conditions they did well with special mention going to Tony Cliff and Liam (Deadliest Catch) Sullivan for their tight bowling. Downwind saw the triumphant return or Taita’s secret skux Kevin McComb back from his off season overseas where he “wintered well” and scored the token English Ton.
Although Johnsonville finally flicked the switch around the 25th over we were confident in our Batters and there was plenty of talk about the downwind end being worth “at least 10 an over”. At the end of the 35 overs they had accumulated a respectable 183-6 and the fielding side was more than happy to retreat from the Chris Gale.
After an inspirational “nill all boyz” from skipper Mark Houghton, J Dean and Sam De Le Du Ce Twa strode out with a spring in their step, eager at the chance to have a swing downwind. Things weren't to be, sadly for Deano when an enraged A-Dot sought vengeance for his unfair treatment earlier on in the day. Enter Phil Tunicliff! Conditions could not have been more suited to Tony’s batting style, all he had to do was bat himself in and start winding up. As should have been expected he didn't worry about batting himself in, he just started putting balls over the rope. What happened next was something that will probably only ever be witnessed once by those present. Johnsonville elected to bring on a spinner into the wind with Phil on strike. After the first four balls were comfortably dispatched over the fence the possibility of the perfect over was a real chance. The fifth ball sailed away again and everyone held on tight as the 6th ball beat the bat to the signal of wide from the umpire. A second go at it was always going to be too many chanced and the sixth six of the over flew high over the boundary fielders to the delight of the onlookers.
With classy support from the French-Australian Sam L, Phil kicked on to a superb 98 off 48 sadly just falling short of the ton. A match winning knock that was a pleasure to watch. It was fairly straight forward from here, a solid 42 from Valsh sealed the deal in quick time. Handshakes all round and a great start to the points competition for the Taita boys. As everyone headed off from the ground Pat Houghton was reported to have mumbled something about “heading home for a Jimad Khan of Kieth Urban and Coke with his mate A-Dot”, although no one has heard from him after last seeing him Oosting off in a White Sacked-Out Ute.