CANTERBURY Districts Kiwis farewelled the northern NSW inland with a gallant fightback anda three wicket win over the Northern NSW Emus at Armidale Sportsground yesterday.
The Kiwis had arrived in the north after three wins and a loss in the Hunter on their 2013 tour and followed up with two losses in Tamworth and then a last-over win in a day-nighter in Gunnedah.
They returned to Tamworth on Saturday but lost a day- night game to the Emus on Sunday when a wind storm and lightning threatened to derail the game.
The Emus won that revised 45-over-a-side game before Monday’s first day of the two-day game was abandoned because of a wet wicket.
Yesterday the two teams started a 60-over-a-side game, played under two-day rules (no fielding restrictions) on a wet Armidale Sportsground that had not dried out.
The Kiwis won the toss and had no hesitation inserting the Emus, who were in early trouble at 4-43.
However Grant Stewart (63) and Joe Willman (53) forged a 98-run fifth wicket stand for what was a 202 total.
Luke Merchant (36) and skipper Nick Pearson (20) also chipped in while left-arm spinner Jeremy Benton snared 4-41 from his 12.5 overs.
Opening bat Michael Grafton also nipped in with 2-21 and Ben Blackman captured 2-39 before the Kiwis also floundered early.
Angus McNeill (1-11) and Will Howard (1-10) both made early breakthroughs while Trent Statham and Ben Neaves also backed them up with wickets to leave the Kiwis 4-47.
Soon after, they were 5-54 but that brought Nathan Wingham and Nic Cumming together.
They added a half century partnership before Cunning departed, stumped for 25 by Matty Everett, and when Wingham went for 72 the tourists had slumped to 7-152.
However wicketkeeper Scott Dugann (42no) and paceman Henry Winchester (12no) then forged another half century partnership to steer the Kiwis to a three wicket victory.
They finished 7-203, with Angus McNeill (2-23 off 18) and Trent Statham (2-19 off 11.4) the best of the Emu bowlers.
Today the Kiwis are travelling to Cessnock where they have a T20 game this afternoon to complete their tour.
Then it’s off to Sydney tomorrow, a day touring around the capital and then a flight home on Friday.
“It’s been an enjoyable tour,” manager Barry Townrow said.
He logged his 10th trip across “the deetch” this year.
“There’ have been a lot of highlights for us and a lot of learning for the boys.
“Today’s win was a good one. It was a real swings and roundabouts game.
“Both sides had it but the Emus probably had a bad middle period.”
Emus manager Richard Rowlings agreed.
“Our boys went to sleep in that middle session,” Rowlings said.
“We dropped some catches and invited them back into the game which they happily accepted.”