Canterbury were finally crowned Lincoln University National Under-19 champions in Lincoln, Christchurch this afternoon.
Despite a final round loss to Wellington, the red ’n’ blacks still finished a considerable 12 points ahead of their closest rivals.
Wellington, Central and Northern all recorded victories in today’s Twenty20 fixtures, with Central toppling Otago to secure second and Northern trumping neighbours Auckland.
Northern’s seven-wicket victory meant Auckland have to settle for third overall, after their first-innings total of 124 was accounted for in just 17.4 overs.
The pursuit from Northern always looked comfortable, with all five batsmen who came to the crease scoring 15 or more. Tim Seifert was the top scorer, slamming three fours and three sixes to make 35 from 28 balls.
Captain Cameron Gibbons (28*) then combined with Luke Williamson (20*) to end proceedings and complete the tournament on a high note.
They had earlier kept Auckland from gaining the momentum at any point in the innings, taking wickets throughout to limit them to a very modest total.
Andrew Morrison was far and away the best of the batsmen, making 43 before being run out in the 19th over. At the end of their innings Auckland were 124 for eight.
Thomas MacRury was pivotal with the ball, taking two early wickets to put Auckland on the back-foot from the get go.
Otago also failed in their push for second, falling 20 runs short of Central’s first-up effort of 136 for eight.
The southerners got off to a bad start with the bat and never truly recovered, as they were dismissed after 19 overs for 116. Ben Willemsen came in at number six and scored a fighting 45, but by then the damage had been done.
Ryan Watson was the chief-wicket taker and finished with impressive match figures of four for 23 from three overs.
Central also put in a sub-par performance with the bat. Middle-order batsman Angus Schaw top-scored with 28, but it was the tail who did the real damage, with Jackson Braddock-Pajo making a crucial 21 not out to make their total respectable. It may well have been a match-defining innings and one which allowed Central to hold on to second spot.
Well in front of them though sat Canterbury, whose only incentive in their match against Wellington was to extend their lead even further. However, a spectacular 101 not out from opener Henry Walsh upset any ideas the local side had, with Wellington building a colossal 209 for one in the first innings.
Walsh’s century came off just 61 balls and was full of entertainment with eight fours and five sixes.
Alongside the heroics of Walsh came two more than helpful cameos from Sam Keegan (56) and Brett Johnson (48*). It was a completely dominant performance from the Wellington top three, which set Canterbury a big task in the second innings.
While the chase was eventually unsuccessful, Canterbury put up a valiant attempt and kept things respectable at 179 for six. Two players made the majority of those runs, with opener Ben Ward contributing 46 and Leo Carter leading the way with 73.
Unlike Wellington though they were unable to maintain the momentum and with such a big total to chase down the pressure soon told and wickets fell.
The loss wasn’t the end to the tournament Canterbury had been looking for, but had little effect on the overall outcome. Their undefeated streak in the One-Day matches confirmed them their first Under-19 title since the 2008/09 season, taking it back from last year’s champions Auckland.
Central’s James McDougall ended as the top run-scorer for the tournament, finishing with 425 runs to his name at 42.55. In the bowling statistics Canterbury’s Hamish Robertson led the wicket tally, taking 24 over the course of the tournament.
Final points table:
Central Districts 30
Northern Districts 21