Stars eye upset in first T15 Blast final

The end begins tonight.

A huge chapter of the 2018-2019 cricket season will close at the Harry Barker Reserve from 5.15pm today, with the grand final of the inaugural Walker Shield T15 Blast between favourites the Smash Palace Bail-Breakers — under Jak Rowe — and underdogs the Glen Udall-led Bollywood Stars.

Experienced OBR seamer Jimmy Holden, he still of the late outswinger, got his Bail-Breakers franchise through to tonight’s big game by hitting middle and leg stump in last Friday’s six-man bowl-off v the Eastland Broncos.

Amit Vyas — last bowler in the first round for the Broncos — missed, leg-spinner Parminder Singh Kulaar of the Breakers was spared a turn in the pouring rain, and the Breakers became the Stars’ grand final opponents.

The Stars beat a depleted Bail-Breakers crew (eight players) by nine wickets in the 1 v 2 preliminary semifinal a fortnight ago, chasing the Breakers’ 122-3 down in 13 overs.

The Breakers had defended 105-4 v the Stars in the T15 Blast opening night — Rowe’s fellow constable David Salmon hitting seven boundaries in his unbeaten 61 off 49 balls, the first-ever half-century in the revamped Walker Shield format.

The Stars defaulted to the Breakers on December 7 but on January 25, the Bail-Breakers won by eight wickets.

Poverty Bay Cricket operations manager Nick Hendrie, the competition’s leading run-scorer overall (443 runs at 73.8, one century, three 50s in eight games), hit five sixes and seven fours in his innings of 72 retired not out off 36 balls.

The Bail-Breakers have won eight of 11 games, the Stars five from 10; the Broncos finished with a 5/11 record, the Auto Tyre Eagles won once in 10 attempts.

Breakers captain Rowe can almost taste victory.

“We’ve beaten them twice already. We can do the job one more time.”

Rowe has been unavailable for much of the season but the left-arm opening bowler’s return is timely.

He will take the new ball on a fresh representative wicket that hasn’t been used since the Northern Districts boys’ senior secondary schools tournament in December.

“The excitement around this competition has been suppressed until now,” said Udall. “We have quietly built form, we know a lot of pressure is on Nick (Hendrie). We let him off the hook in the last game and are determined to put that right.

“We have a trio of top-class batsmen in Scott Tallott, Bruce Kerr and Dane Thompson. If they click tonight, it will be spectacular.”

Udall has been rapt with his team’s sharpness in the field of late; that could be an important factor on the Harry Barker Reserve’s biggest ground. The return from injury of Matthew Cook will also give the Stars a boost in terms of team spirit as well as adding valuable experience to their pace bowling stocks: he has been a key component of OBR’s recent dominance of club cricket with his line and length.

Graham Hudson of the Broncos may lay claim to being the quickest bowler in both the Walker Shield and DJ Barry Cup, but both Rowe and Thompson are match-winners on their day.

Thompson is — as used to be the case with former High School Old Boys’ and Poverty Bay opening bowler Gareth Ball — often too good to take wickets: either batsmen play and miss . . . or they defend everything.

Kulaar gives the Bail-Breakers a point of difference: an accurate leg spinner who teases batsmen with his loop. He also has the ability to bowl well to both right and left-handers from around the wicket. Done well, as he has done, that tactic can restrict strokeplay and create pressure, though it requires great skill.

Stars keeper Bruce Kerr could be a key figure this evening, if only for his energy and alertness behind the stumps. He has also batted with rare assurance.

The umpires from 5.15pm this evening will be Tony Lee and Jason Trowill.

SMASH PALACE BAIL-BREAKERS:

Jak Rowe (captain), Nicholas Hendrie, Thom Berry (wicket keeper), Josiah Turner, Josh Adams, Jacob Colbert, Parminder Singh Kulaar, Isaac Hughes, Vaughan Thompson, Jimmy Holden, Ben Phelps.

BOLLYWOOD STARS: Glen Udall (c), Scott Tallott, Bruce Kerr (wkp), Dane Thompson, Brad Reynolds, Francesco Colucci, Ajay Kumar, David Situ, Paul Stewart, Jagroop Singh, Matthew Cook.

The end begins tonight.

A huge chapter of the 2018-2019 cricket season will close at the Harry Barker Reserve from 5.15pm today, with the grand final of the inaugural Walker Shield T15 Blast between favourites the Smash Palace Bail-Breakers — under Jak Rowe — and underdogs the Glen Udall-led Bollywood Stars.

Experienced OBR seamer Jimmy Holden, he still of the late outswinger, got his Bail-Breakers franchise through to tonight’s big game by hitting middle and leg stump in last Friday’s six-man bowl-off v the Eastland Broncos.

Amit Vyas — last bowler in the first round for the Broncos — missed, leg-spinner Parminder Singh Kulaar of the Breakers was spared a turn in the pouring rain, and the Breakers became the Stars’ grand final opponents.

The Stars beat a depleted Bail-Breakers crew (eight players) by nine wickets in the 1 v 2 preliminary semifinal a fortnight ago, chasing the Breakers’ 122-3 down in 13 overs.

The Breakers had defended 105-4 v the Stars in the T15 Blast opening night — Rowe’s fellow constable David Salmon hitting seven boundaries in his unbeaten 61 off 49 balls, the first-ever half-century in the revamped Walker Shield format.

The Stars defaulted to the Breakers on December 7 but on January 25, the Bail-Breakers won by eight wickets.

Poverty Bay Cricket operations manager Nick Hendrie, the competition’s leading run-scorer overall (443 runs at 73.8, one century, three 50s in eight games), hit five sixes and seven fours in his innings of 72 retired not out off 36 balls.

The Bail-Breakers have won eight of 11 games, the Stars five from 10; the Broncos finished with a 5/11 record, the Auto Tyre Eagles won once in 10 attempts.

Breakers captain Rowe can almost taste victory.

“We’ve beaten them twice already. We can do the job one more time.”

Rowe has been unavailable for much of the season but the left-arm opening bowler’s return is timely.

He will take the new ball on a fresh representative wicket that hasn’t been used since the Northern Districts boys’ senior secondary schools tournament in December.

“The excitement around this competition has been suppressed until now,” said Udall. “We have quietly built form, we know a lot of pressure is on Nick (Hendrie). We let him off the hook in the last game and are determined to put that right.

“We have a trio of top-class batsmen in Scott Tallott, Bruce Kerr and Dane Thompson. If they click tonight, it will be spectacular.”

Udall has been rapt with his team’s sharpness in the field of late; that could be an important factor on the Harry Barker Reserve’s biggest ground. The return from injury of Matthew Cook will also give the Stars a boost in terms of team spirit as well as adding valuable experience to their pace bowling stocks: he has been a key component of OBR’s recent dominance of club cricket with his line and length.

Graham Hudson of the Broncos may lay claim to being the quickest bowler in both the Walker Shield and DJ Barry Cup, but both Rowe and Thompson are match-winners on their day.

Thompson is — as used to be the case with former High School Old Boys’ and Poverty Bay opening bowler Gareth Ball — often too good to take wickets: either batsmen play and miss . . . or they defend everything.

Kulaar gives the Bail-Breakers a point of difference: an accurate leg spinner who teases batsmen with his loop. He also has the ability to bowl well to both right and left-handers from around the wicket. Done well, as he has done, that tactic can restrict strokeplay and create pressure, though it requires great skill.

Stars keeper Bruce Kerr could be a key figure this evening, if only for his energy and alertness behind the stumps. He has also batted with rare assurance.

The umpires from 5.15pm this evening will be Tony Lee and Jason Trowill.

SMASH PALACE BAIL-BREAKERS:

Jak Rowe (captain), Nicholas Hendrie, Thom Berry (wicket keeper), Josiah Turner, Josh Adams, Jacob Colbert, Parminder Singh Kulaar, Isaac Hughes, Vaughan Thompson, Jimmy Holden, Ben Phelps.

BOLLYWOOD STARS: Glen Udall (c), Scott Tallott, Bruce Kerr (wkp), Dane Thompson, Brad Reynolds, Francesco Colucci, Ajay Kumar, David Situ, Paul Stewart, Jagroop Singh, Matthew Cook.

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