Stoke/Nayland have capped their perfect season with a 31-run win over Waimea Toi Toi United in a dramatic 50-over final at Saxton Oval on Saturday.
A stunning spell of bowling by spinner Patrick Howes secured the win and the fourth trophy for Stoke/Nayland this summer.
Batting first, Stoke/Nayland were bowled out in the 38th over for what looked to be a sub-par 148.
The competition leaders won the toss and opted to bat but struggled from the outset, losing in-form opener Howes inside the first over for a duck.
“I asked around the team what we should do if we won the toss and it was 6-5 in favour of bowling but runs on the board at Saxton has won a lot of games over the past decade,” says Stoke/Nayland captain Brendan Hodgson.
Waimea’s opening bowling pair of Sam Baxendine and Tom O’Neill blew through the Stoke/Nayland top order who found themselves 8 for 3 after only four overs.
Josh Kennedy took the remarkable figures of 3 for 5 off just 2.2 overs.
Josh Newport and Kurt Thomson each took two-a-piece while Sam Baxendine proved impossible to get away, taking 2 for just 12 off his seven overs.
Ryan Edwards and captain Brendan Hodgson helped revive the innings, combining for a sixth wicket partnership of 70 to ensure their side posted a competitive total.
Ryan top scored with 47 off 56 while Brendan chipped in with 37 from 45.
Alex Coles finished unbeaten on 18 off 34 deliveries.
In reply, Waimea lost opener Tom Ingham in just the second over, trapped in front off the bowling of Darius Skeaping without scoring.
Former Wellington Firebird lli Tugaga, the competition’s leading wicket taker, was again menacing during his early spell, but rain then threatened to spoil the party for both sides.
The covers came on during the scheduled lunch break with WTTU looking comfortable at 31 for 1 after nine.
After an hour-long delay play resumed in gloomy overhead conditions and Mason Thelin looked to up the run rate, hitting four boundaries in quick succession before being trapped in front to Tugaga.
Howes then ripped through the middle and lower order with WTTU losing seven wickets for 18 runs in a dramatic collapse, Howes taking the match winning figures of 4 for 20 off six overs.
“Patty bowled very well, he’s always been capable of that he’s one of those spinners that isn’t afraid to chuck it up and go for a few but to grab four wickets in that fashion was fantastic, he’s been the find of the season for sure,” says Brendan.
Jon Routhan held the innings together for Waimea before he too lost his wicket for 25.
Stoke/Nayland came into the final unbeaten, with 8 wins and 2 abandoned from their 10 matches
“We set out at the start of the year to win all four major trophies and having achieved that is outstanding.”
Brendan says, even at 54 for 2, he was still confident in his bowlers.
“They have a pretty strong top order but once we got through that we backed ourselves and the boys got us over the line.”
The side will celebrate their fourth major trophy of the year after winning the Kelvin Scoble, Twenty20 and 60 over competitions. “I think the lads will be lining up a few quiets tonight.”