The club cricket season was cut short by corona restrictions but saw plenty of impressive performances on the pitch in 2019/20.
Stoke/Nayland once again claimed the Kirkpatrick Cup for Overall Team of the Year having won the 110 Over competition, the Ruby Rainey memorial Cup and the Bush Tavern Trophy.
Charismatic leader Brendon Hodgson says it was incredibly satisfying to put another consistent season together.
“To win team of the year is always a priority as it shows success across all competitions, so we are very pleased with that.”
The season featured an aborted T/20, a Nelson-only 50-over competition which also had its final cancelled and the Tasman Premier League (TPL).
Stoke/Nayland would lose the TPL title off the last delivery of the final to fall agonisingly short of another clean sweep of the competitions.
“That was obviously a huge disappointment, but it was a memorable game of cricket against a quality team full of representative players.”
Brendon says finals are a funny beast, and sometimes individual brilliance can turn them around.
“Thomas Zohrab heaped the pressure on us and ensured that they won a few key moments late in the game and they deserved the spoils.”
The veteran says the club has a competitive environment and are well coached by Aaron Mallinson.
“A lot of us have played a fair bit of cricket together now. We’ve had success putting scores on the board and backing ourselves to defend whatever we can muster, we are getting older as a group though, so we will certainly be looking to give opportunities to younger players around town.”
Stoke Nayland have been the big dogs on the block for a couple of years and while they were by no means disgraced, they certainly showed a little vulnerability.
Generally, one of their top three batsmen, Darius Skeaping, Chris Dittmer or Kurt Pahl would produce a solid performance to get them to competitive totals.
Then Hodgson, Ben Homan, Dylan Eginton or Paddy Howes would capitalise on the start.
While Howes fell away slightly after his lightening beginning to the season, he scored a couple of centuries and is a class act.
They also had a more than handy keeper/ batsman in Ricky Edwards and Stoke Nayland were the best fielding team in the grade.
They had plenty of seamers to call on, with young Englishman Thomas Chambers further enhancing their all-ready abundant stocks.
Timothy O’Connor, Ben Stark, Billy Guyton, Skeaping and Eginton ensured plenty of pressure on opposing batsmen.
Their nearest rivals were of course the TPL champions ACOB. Their three encounters with Stoke Nayland were all epic affairs with the overall run tallies from their three matches, ACOB 651 Stoke Nayland 650, amazingly tight.
While ACOB had a core base of local players they also had Jake Milton who returned from England and they relied heavily on the talents of the itinerant student group of Thomas and David Zohrab, Josh Simpson and Nic Clark.
BJ Barnett proved to be an astute coach and he also produced some match winning performances with both bat and ball when required.
Thomas Zohrab though was ACOB’s key performer however and he played just seven matches in picking up his 25 wickets and the measly average of 6.04 runs per wicket.
He also backed this up with 255 runs at 42.5 including a century and was rewarded with the Don Salton Trophy and Rep Player of the Year at the NCA Awards.