The Mark Parker Memorial Trophy was played between holders Dunedin Metro and a South Canterbury Invitation side in beautiful sunny conditions on a good wicket at the Rectory and was a fitting tribute to Mark’s memory.
The South Canterbury side featured several players who have been the recipients of the Mark Parker Memorial Trust Scholarship which sends them to Winchester College in England for a season, and all of these players made good contributions in this game too. Bill Walsh scored 59, Jeremy Lane took the first wicket and took a great catch that only he could have stretched to, and the latest recipient, Tom Walsh, took two wickets and was unbeaten on 24 when play finished.
Dunedin set the tone for the day by sending up a strong team including development players and some with first class experience, and after batting first it didn’t take long for them to get the score moving. They were 46 when Lane grabbed the first wicket, but had quickly added a further 60 runs before Tom Walsh made the next breakthrough removing King for 22 and soon after opener Glenn for 74.
Todd Elliotte picked up the next two wickets to fall and Jordy Morrow the sixth and seventh wickets, but no one could remove Sean Eathorne who marched majestically on to finish 138 not out. It was a classy innings with shots all round the wicket and great placement into the gaps. He never looked troubled, and in an innings that included 4 sixes and 17 fours off only 98 balls, none of the numerous spectators would recall any slogging or non-cricket shots.
His team mates supported him by feeding him the strike and eventually Dunedin finished at 310-7 off their fifty overs, a very imposing total. South Canterbury used eight different bowlers from their bowler heavy side and while Craig Hinton was miserly in his opening spell and only conceded nine runs, most of the others had mixed success, taking wickets but also receiving punishment.
With a hard track and fast outfield, South Canterbury hoped to make Dunedin also find out the difficulties of fielding and controlling the scoring rate with small boundaries and Tom Bouch from Winchester College started well. Unfortunately Bouch was out for 22 just as he was getting going and then when Grant Brookland was caught behind the stumps for five, the story of the day began to unfold.
Facing bowlers who were generally quicker than in the local competition lead to Dunedin keeper Mark Bracewell picking up four catches as players played and missed or edged deliveries. Liam Crowley was next out for 23 and then the in-form Matt Mealings joined a patient Bill Walsh who was enjoying playing back at his old home ground. Together they added 82 runs which helped South Canterbury back into the game, although the run rate required was always climbing.
The wicket of Mealings for 31 with the score at 157 brought about the double collapse as Bill Walsh was caught on the boundary for 59 trying to repeat the six that brought up his half century earlier. Walsh’s innings showed he is certainly up to the standard of the players on show, and was a typically patient batting display.
Next batsman, Tom Lewis, a student from Winchester College here on the cricketing exchange, was batting under an injury cloud and didn’t get to show his true class, and started the slide as the tail-enders came and went, trying to score quickly to keep South Canterbury in the game and to at least go down fighting. Tom Walsh batted well at the other end, but in the end after a good fielding and bowling display by Dunedin Metro, South Canterbury were dismissed for 203, 107 runs short of their target.
It is now hoped that the Mark Parker Memorial Trophy match can be returned to the regular calendar as it is a great opportunity for young and up and coming players to test their skills alongside sometimes older, and often more experienced players from both districts, and as it is a match played in tribute to Mark’s life, it is played in the best of spirits with both teams obviously enjoying ‘the cricket’.