The power of a drinks break in a game of cricket was evident as a superb all-round performance from Charles Darling catapulted Waihi School into the final of the national primary school cricket tournament in Palmerston North.

The three-wicket win yesterday looked unlikely until a timely drinks break halted Berkley Normal Intermediate School’s momentum.

Waihi won the toss and chose to try to take advantage of the 10.30am start.

The possible movement they were looking for did not eventuate and the school from Hamilton piled on the runs.

At 96 for one at the 18-over mark of the 35-over innings, Waihi coach Hamish Brown could see his team’s finals aspirations fading.

“We were definitely staring down the barrel of a big score,” Brown said.

Whatever was said during the short interval clearly worked, as Darling ripped through the Berkley batting order, on his way to figures of five for 17 from his seven overs.

He was supported by Alistair Harvey and Jonny Fitzpatrick who took two wickets each, as Berkley lost their remaining nine wickets for just 41 runs, to be all out for 137.

Berkley’s best was Chris Swanson with 43.

Brown said creating pressure brought his team back into the game.

“We just put the ball in good areas and created pressure.

“We got one wicket, and then another and it all compounded on [Berkley] a bit.”

Darling’s efforts weren’t done for the day, as he was soon out in the middle with bat in hand.

Two early wickets brought him and Lawrence Darling together, and they set about posting a half-century stand.

At 74 for two at drinks, Waihi were in charge, but quick wickets started a mini-collapse – Lawrence was dismissed for 56 and there was still work to do. It took a calm 15 not out from William Carter to guide his team home, with one ball to spare.

Waihi will face Raroa Normal Intermediate School from Wellington in the final. Raroa had a 67-run win over Christchurch South Intermediate School.

Brown believed he had the balance of the side correct and this would help them gain their first national cricket title in the school’s history.

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