CANTERBURY District Kiwis arrived in Tamworth with a familiar face as manager, tired but fired up to play a hot Twenty20 against a Tamworth XI at Scully Park yesterday afternoon.
After beginning their Australian tour with three wins at Maitland, Singleton and Cessnock, the Kiwis lost Monday’s match to Dungog by a wicket off the second last ball, manager Barry Townrow said.
“We lost our way a wee bit,” Townrow said yesterday.
“We lost seven for 23 – the tail fell apart and we were all out for 175.
“They made 9-177 – got the winner off the second last ball.
“We’ve got to sharpen our fielding up a wee bit.
“Our ground fielding and throwing was good but the catching wasn’t.
“I don’t know whether it was the light and the glare or what but we expect them to take those catches.
“But they had played every day.
“This (yesterday’s T20) is their fifth game in a row so they might be a bit tired.”
With a 50-over-a-side game starting at No 1 Oval at 10am today, it will be a challenge for the young side, especially in the heat.
“We thought it might be a bit warmer than this,” Kiwi coach Chris Rowe said.
He’s a NZ level 3 coach who coaches in the Canterbury region.
“The boys have gone well so far,” Rowe said.
“We’re very pleased with them so far.
“They come from a wide geographical area but have gelled together as a team.”
Townrow said the Canterbury Districts side was made up of players from all over the Canterbury region as well as Nelson and Marlborough.
“It’s basically the top half of the South Island,” he said of a team captained by tall right-handed top-order bat James Tapper.
Tapper, 20, is from Rangiora.
“This is my fourth trip to Australia,” he said.
“I had two with school sides and one with another rep side.
“They’ve been good trips.
“We get to play good cricket.
“I love playing against the Aussies – it’s always competitive.”
Tapper and Michael Grafton opened the batting for the Kiwis after Tapping won the toss and put on 71 before Tapper was the first of former NSW Country captain Jeff Cook’s two victims.
Grafton hit nine fours in his 53 to be the Kiwis’ player of the day.
They made 7-146 but Tamworth ran it down with three overs to spare after Nick Pearson (42), Daniel Cunningham (32) and Kris Halloran (44) all went quicker than a run a ball and smacked 14 fours and three sixes between them.
“They batted well early,” Tamworth skipper Adam Jones said of Tapper and Grafton.
“They took advantage of the field restrictions in the first six overs.
“But Cookie and Richard Bullock bowled well in the middle to restrict them, and Dan Cunningham too.
“Then our top three did the job. All batted well.”
Pearson, who will skipper the Emus against the Canterbury Districts in one-day and two-day fixtures at the end of the week, hit five fours and a six in his 35-ball 42, Cunningham smacked five fours in his 26-ball 32 and Halloran carved out four fours and two sixes in his 26-ball 44.