They say big players step up in big games and no one stood higher than Greg Hay, as the Waimea Toi Toi United batsman hit an unbeaten 138 runs to gift the Tigers their second two-day title in as many years.
Car Company Stoke/Nayland had two heroes of their own with seamers Marty King and Darius Skeaping claiming all nine wickets between them as they shouldered the most of the bowling work.
At tea on the second day, the match was all but resigned to just one innings each. But Greg, who remains firm favourite for the Vonda Edwards Trophy for the competition’s most prolific batsman, was unstoppable as last year’s champions held on for a famous victory, surpassing Stoke/Nayland’s 245 in the 89th over with just one wicket to spare.
Harrington’s Beer Café WTTU captain Jon Routhan says it was a dream final. “I don’t think anyone would have begrudged the result if it had gone the other way and I don’t think Stoke/Nayland begrudge us. It was just a really good game of cricket,” he says. “Every team member got us to the final and then the final is when big players step up and it was a pretty special night.”
Stoke/Nayland captain Ryan Edwards says his side was “absolutely gutted” to lose the match before acknowledging Greg’s innings on the second day. “He was just superb that’s the best innings I think I’ve seen,” he says. Ryan believed his side’s 245 all out was “about par”, as he top scored with 47. Marty reached 42 runs while Dylan Eginton and Ben Homan also made key contributions with the bat. With Harrington’s Beer Café WTTU down six wickets at lunch on Sunday, Stoke/Nayland remained firmly in the hunt. “The way that Marty and Darius bowled was just superb and although Greg Hay gets a lot of the accolades if we had won the game then their efforts would have been just as large as his.”
But Greg was supported well by Symon Carr who contributed an important 17 runs to the total late in the day following on from Cade Armstrong’s 15.
Both sides now take a break over Christmas before the twenty20 season begins on January 5. Ryan is hoping that Stoke/Nayland can go one better than last year when they were beaten by ACOB in the final.