At 4.45pm Friday night with both the Roncalli and Temuka Twenty20 teams going through their warm-up drills, sponsors flags fluttering in the breeze and the temperature much more pleasant than the inaugural T20 Friday night match a week before, spectators and players alike were looking forward to this second round match in the South Canterbury Placemakers T20 Competition.
Unfortunately whether it was the 11-11-11 curse, or an umpire killing spiders in the garden, the weather soon had a part to play as rain began to fall about 5.10 and a start was delayed.
Eventually play began at 6.00pm with time lost reducing the match to 16 overs each and Roncalli batting first to make use of the better light.
Temuka’s Dillon Lees made a breakthrough in the first over removing Ryan De Joux for 1 brilliantly caught in the gully after his keeper had put down a simple chance off Ed Kilbee two balls earlier.
However, this brought Roncalli’s captain Tom Pavletich to the wicket to join Kilbee and the pair added a further 74 runs in very good time before Kilbee was caught hooking off the bowling of Nathan McNicol.
Tahir Afridi, another of the Roncalli player-coaches continued his form from the previous weekend before being caught by Neil Louw for 42 but had been the mainstay in a 63 run partnership with Pavletich who eventually finished 48 not out after playing a strong supporting role to the two English professionals.
Roncalli’s total of 150-3 was helped along by 26 extras and left Temuka a real challenge with close to 10 runs an over needed in the chase.
Temuka lost their first wicket with only 9 on the board, before young Michael Hogan making his senior debut was soon showing his class on his way to Temuka’s top score with 24. Hogan normally plays for TBHS 1st XI, but this year’s new T20 format allows clubs to bring in players from other clubs to help keep competitive teams during the Friday night matches, especially as some players are unavailable due to work commitments, and it was good to see two Boys High players helping the Temuka cause, the other being second top scorer Dan O’Brien with 17.
Unfortunately for Temuka chasing such a large target, only Willie Stone in the middle order with 14 was able contribute to a partnership and at 74-8 the match looked likely to be an early finish. The tailenders didn’t agree with this as O’Brien and then Robbie Histen with 15 not out and Hami Goldsmith (15) all made it to double figures, but the total looked well out of reach when we realised that Temuka needed to hit all 12 balls from the last two overs for 6! Goldsmith started off trying to do this despatching the first two balls for 4, but in the end Temuka finished on 104, 47 short of a winning score.
For Roncalli Ben Watson was the early destroyer with 2-11 from his 4 overs, but it was Alex McDuff’s ‘big day out’ taking 4-17 from his 3 overs. At one stage he had 3-5 before Goldsmith took the long handle to him in his third over, but McDuff had the last laugh having him caught in the gloom on the boundary by Harry Millar to seal victory.
Roncalli’s other impressive feat, was that they never dropped a catch, and in fact took 8 catches, something that would have been unheard of last season where that number was often more likely to be the amount dropped, so the influence of the new player-coaches, their fielding skills training and keen attitude is starting to have rewards, and with a wet ball and bad light they are not likely to strike worse fielding conditions this year.