Auckland overcame a resurgent Northern Districts team to retain their title at the recent Masters Tournament in Queenstown. Both sides went through the qualification stage unbeaten on Saturday and despite the arrival of the front end of a winter storm on Saturday night, a full 20 over match was completed - albeit in freezing conditions - on Sunday.
The defending champs took the initiative early with Guy Coleman and Ian Billcliff setting the platform for Auckland to post a commanding score of 219 for 4.
Coleman (35), Billcliff (53*), Martin Pringle (38*) and Darrin Crook (35*) all reached the compulsory retirement score of 35 as they all took advantage of the placid Queenstown Event Centre pitch.
ND’s reply stumbled when Auckland skipper Kerry Walmsley secured wickets in each of his first two overs. However, Richard Johnston and tournament debutant Jaden Hatwell resurrected the innings to apply some pressure to the Auckland bowling effort. Hatwell was central to the run chase with a forceful 55 runs and was ably supported by Johnston (25), Brett Hood (18) and master’s stalwart Barry Cooper (26).
Under normal circumstances ND’s 169 would have been enough to stave off most sides, but the day - and the title - belonged to Auckland for the second straight year following their impressive batting display.
Day one of the tournament produced some closely fought matches, including a Tie between Otago and Wellington. Mark Greatbatch’s Central Districts team went close to victory in both matches but could not complete the task and suffered defeat on the penultimate and final ball during their two matches.
Wellington produced their best performances in years thanks to the contribution from new recruits Paul Hitchcock, Mayu Pasupati, and Scott McCardy – to compliment the legendary status of team commander Ewen Chatfield. The finalists from two years ago, Canterbury and CD, will look to add some strength to their squads prior to the 2016 tournament as both look to rediscover that winning formula after going winless in 2015.
Of course, the Masters Weekend is not just about cricket – the T20 tournament is central to the weekend, however it is the supporting activities and functions that bring generations of cricketers together. This year we were particularly pleased to have a number of non-cricketing attendees such as Ken Rutherford, and CPA Life Members Graham Burnett, Martin Bradley and Robert Anderson.
The CPA is committed to all our members and the Masters Weekend remains the pinnacle event for our past playing members. Queenstown offers a range of events and activities – whether it be food, wine, golf, mountain biking, relaxation, or playing or watching cricket, this is the perfect location to do so with a bunch of mates, or as a break away with the family.
Cricket performances of the weekend:
Batting (retirement at end of over after scoring 35):
Jaden Hatwell, 55 & 39*; Ian Billcliff, 53*; Andrew Hintz, 53*; Ewen Thompson, 47*; David Kelly, 43*; Craig Foster, 41*; Martin Pringle, 38*; Kelvin Scott, 37; Darrin Crook, 37* & 35*; Guy Coleman, 35;
Andrew Nuttall, 3-19 (4); Guy Coleman, 3-43 (4); Grant Thorpe, 2-9 (4) & 2-16 (4); Mark Greatbatch, 2-15 (3); Ewen Thompson, 2-18 (4) & 2-19 (4); Kerry Walmsley, 2-20 (4); Warren Wisneski, 2-21 (2); Guy Coleman, 2-26 (4); Hamish Kember, 2-37 (4); Jaden Hatwell, 2-44 (4);
NZCPA Masters tournament team 2015
· Ian Billcliff Auckland
· Guy Coleman Auckland
· Darrin Crooks Auckland
· Jaden Hatwell Northern Districts
· Paul Hitchcock Wellington
· Brett Hood Northern Districts
· Andrew Nuttall Canterbury
· Simon Richards Otago
· Mayu Pasupati Wellington
· Ewen Thompson Central Districts
· Kerry Walmsley Auckland
The weekend would not be as successful, or in fact possible, without the support of the many organisations that help with the event - Grassroots Trust, Infinity Foundation, Air Rescue and Community Services Trust, and the staff at the Mercure Resort Hotel.
The NZCPA would also like to acknowledge the support of all six Major Association Cricket Associations for supporting their Masters team.