Nelson College proved too strong for the returning Wanderers in round one of the Tasman Premier League on Saturday. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport.

TPL opens cricket season with a thriller

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The foibles of cricket were clearly on display as the first round of the TPL club cricket competition kicked off on Saturday.

While there were two centuries scored and a couple of comfortable victories, there were also a pair of highly-controversial finishes.

Nelson College and the Falcons both completed tradesman-like wins.

At Horton Park in Blenheim though, WTTU went on something of a go-slow to ensure the requisite number of overs were not completed in time to allow the Dolphins what would have been a compelling victory.

At the Marsden Rec things became farcical as play carried on in the near pitch-black conditions at 7.45pm.

In the end though, the umpire made the decisions and it resulted in compelling viewing and a tantalising tied match.

After something of a disastrous start, an imperious knock by Patrick Howes propelled The Car Company Stoke Nayland to a commanding total on day one of the new season.

Daniel Grimes made the early inroads for ACOB as the champions stuttered to three wickets down for just eight runs in the sixth over of the innings.

Enter Howes and a revival with keeper/batsman Ricky Edwards, and then an impeccable partnership with Clayton Campbell which firmly wrested the initiative back to Stoke Nayland.

Campbell played his part in the 120-run partnership, but it was Howes who took charge.

He hit 14 boundaries and three sixes in a 117-ball knock which featured fine shots all around the park.

Especially for the first week of the season, Howes looked to be in great nick.

By the time the wily Reuben Smith had snared him caught and bowled, the damage was done.

Smith, Grimes and Ollie Jones- Allen toiled away with the ball, but it appeared to be Howes’ day.

The 262-run total seemed a far-off dream as ACOB fell to four down for 60, albeit after only eight overs.

However, a belligerent Grimes’ knock, supported by evergreen Englishman Jake Milton, steadied the ship as they added 103 runs.

Milton, returning to ACOB from a long stint in England, looked a class act and oozed composure as he took control of proceedings.

First Smith and then Jones-Allen offered him support as Milton assuredly worked the ball into the gaps.

When Jones departed with the total at eight for 219 things looked out of reach.

Joseph Gregan, however, had other ideas as he and Milton cleverly inched towards the target.

At 48 overs gone, with Marsden Rec in pitch black as the streetlights glowed in the night, scores were tied.

Milton danced down the track to Turtle Clark and was easily stumped by Edwards.

Gregan was then run out by a nice piece of fielding in the circle by skipper Brendan Hodgson and it was all over.

Result:

Stoke Nayland 262/9 (Patrick Howes 117, Clayton Campbell 45, Reuben Smith 3/38, Daniel Grimes 2/38)

ACOB 262 (Daniel Grimes 71, Jack Milton 60, Dylan Eginton 3/56, Thomas Chambers 2/49)

Match tied

Nelson Collesge 212/2 (Jack Morris 104*, Finn Raxworthy 56, Finn Restieaux 29*)

Taylors Contracting Wanderers/ Motueka 57 (Finn Raxworthy 5/4, Jarrod McKay 3/11)

Nelson College won by 155 runs

Falcons 144 (41.4 overs)

Wakatu 86/6 (24.5 overs).

Match abandoned. Win to Falcons on D/L System.

WTTU 156 (49.4 overs)

Dolphins 90/0 (19 overs).

Match abandoned. Points shared.