Shore Sport: Takapuna Cricket Club
Takapuna Wins National Club Cricket title
It has been an interesting few years for Takapuna Cricket. Under coach Neil Fletcher, in three years Taka has won the Auckland 2-day Championships twice, the Auckland 1-day Championships, and now the National Club Championship title. When they started four years ago they were ranked at the bottom of the Auckland pool.
Takapuna qualified to be Auckland's representative at the 19th annual National Club Championship by winning the Auckland title, beating Suburbs New Lynn back in February. They were joined at the tournament by the Otumoetai Cadets (Northern), United Palmerston North (Central), Easts (Wellington), St Albans (Canterbury) and Taieri (Otago).
The tournament was of high calibre with first class and international players Josh Brodie (Wellington), Jono Boult (Northern Districts), Brad Cachopa (Auckland), Paul Hitchcock (former Black Cap) and Trent Boult (current Black Cap) playing with their respective clubs in the six-day event.
High batting scores asserted Takapuna’s dominance from the start, with evening prize giving ceremonies each day often focused on the spectacle they put on (fun for everyone but the team they were playing). In particular, it was the high score of the tournament against Taieri on Saturday of 443, thanks to the 310 partnership of Elliott Herd (174) and Greg Johnson (197).
So when it came to the final against St Albans, the expectations were the same. Captain Blake Douglas won the toss and decided to bat. Taka was in trouble early on at 3-42, due to the bowling of St Albans opening bowler Michael Davidson. It was the efforts of Jono Sole (98) who played one of the innings of the tournament that sparked life back into Takapuna's batting. Resulting partnerships with Robbie O'Donnell (24) and later with Daniel ter Braak (34) led into an aggressive last five overs that produced a respectable score of 238.
Needing a strong response, St Albans started conservatively. With the pressure mounting, wickets began to fall putting the team in real trouble. Reeling at 4-38, an all out collapse looked possible as wickets continued to tumble with spin bowlers Elliot Herd (4-19) and Ryan Scivier (2-4) doing the damage.
In the end, Takapuna defeated St Albans by 141 runs in the final to win the tournament and the title.
With bubbles being sprayed and photos being taken (and perhaps a few celebration drinks at the club afterwards), it was a day for the team to remember. The grins on the faces of the players could not be wiped off, and the volume of their celebration song was practically eardrum shattering.
Takapuna is now the fourth team from Auckland to claim the title – others being Grafton, Cornwall and Howick.
A great run for this local team – let’s hope the wins keep coming!
Want to find out more about Takapuna Cricket?
Visit www.takapunacricket.co.nz or follow the success of the both the team and its individual players on Twitter - @TakapunaCricket.
The champion Takapuna team
Blake Douglas (Captain) – Has the nickname 'Viv' due to his power hitting. Great success in his first season as captain. Had the second highest strike rate of tournament (behind Cachopa).
Brad Cachopa – Known by team mates as Chopsy. Takapuna's only Aces rep for 2012, he smashed a 38 ball century on the second day of the tournament, ending up 150 off 64 balls (including 15 sixes). Finished the tournament with an average of 57 (strike rate of 145).
Greg Johnson – Won the two major awards of the tournament – All Rounder of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament. Johnson (nickname Dex) has been a major part of Takapuna’s success over the last three seasons. He was third highest wicket taker with 11 wickets at 19 (including a four wicket bag) and third highest run scorer with 306 runs at 61, with tournament high score of of 197.
Elliot Herd – Known by the title of 'Nemo'. Herd is a young player to look out for in the future. He scored his first 100 for the club on the Saturday sharing a partnership with 310 and finished the week as second highest run score with 313 runs at 53. A handy spinner, he also starred with the ball in the final with 4-19.
Ryan Scivier – Great all round tournament from 'Sciv'. Finished with average of 121 (strike rate of 100) and only got dismissed once. Also took eight wickets at 21 and seven catches.
Jono Sole – Sole (or Sausage) saved his best for the final with a winning knock of 98. Sole came in when Taka were in trouble and was the backbone of their respectable total. Also took some handy wickets and seven catches.
Ian Smallburn – 'Smally' had a superb tournament, being one of the most economical bowlers (3.65 runs per over) taking eight wickets at 18.25.
Will we see Smallburn back for his 13th season playing for Takapuna next year?
Paul Hitchcock – 'Hitchy' is the rock-star of the team, a former Black Cap. He played the last three games of the tournament and had an immediate impact. He took wickets in each game scored an amazing 31 runs off only 11 balls against Taieri.
Steve Pearson – Like Hitchcock, 'Stephie P' came in for the last three games and took the keeping duties off Cachopa. Pearson continued his great form this season behind the stumps with catches and stumpings and played a great hand with the bat in the final
Robbie O’Donnell – At only 17 years old, O’Donnell was one of the youngest players involved in the tournament. Captain of the Westlake Boys first XI (he has hit five tons for the school), O’Donnell got to play alongside one of his school teachers and coaches in Ryan Scivier. He was one of the leading run scorers in the Competition and scored 72 in pool play against St Albans.
Coel Mahoney – He flew to England the day after the tournament to continue playing cricket with another Taka player, James Cowell.
Mahoney (also known as Juga) teamed up with Cachopa to form a great opening partnership that got Taka some great starts throughout the week.
Dan ter Braak – 'Bugsy' joined up with Sole to put on what was a match winning partnership in the final. The pair add 83 at a run-a-ball for the fifth wicket and gave Takapuna the momentum they need going into the last few overs.
Mark Norman – Known as 'Storman', Norman is the 'young gun' in Takapuna’s bowling line up. He bowled with good pace and control throughout and took some key wickets.
Neil Fletcher (Coach) – This isn't 'Fletch's' first national title. He also won National Schools Tournament with Christchurch Boys High.
In his three seasons with Takapuna they have won three Auckland titles and now national title – so the big fella obviously knows how to coach!