Easts and Karori to meet in three-day Pearce Cup Final over Easter

Wellington club cricket supremacy is on the line this Easter Weekend when 10-time champions Eastern Suburbs and Karori clash at the Hawkins Basin Reserve in the Final of the Wilkinson Pearce Cup.

Neither will give an inch when they meet in this year’s Pearce Cup final, scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As top qualifier, Easts just needs to draw with Karori and defend the title that they have won for 10 of the past 11 seasons. Karori were the side that broke their unbeaten run when they beat the Kilbirnie Park-based side by 108 runs in the 2010-11 season final.

Normal service resumed for Easts last season when they outlasted Naenae Old Boys to win by 9 wickets, chasing down 90 for victory on the third afternoon.

Easts captain Lance Dry said the team can’t wait for the opportunity to defend their title on the Basin Reserve. “Everything is a build-up to this really,” said Dry, “this is the pinnacle of the season for every club sportsperson so we’re fired up to do well.”

Despite being top qualifier, and just needing to draw the final, Dry said Easts are playing to win. “We’d definitely like to beat them outright. But we’ll do whatever we need to do keep hold of the trophy. There’s so many factors that will come into it, but being clever and patient will be the key.”

Dry added that the strength of Karori hinges on the availability of their Wellington Firebirds players Murdoch, Boam and McKay. “If they play then those three guys are going to be pretty key and Karori will be a different proposition than if they don’t play.

“From our perspective we think we’re pretty well balanced. Ben Orton has had a good year, if he gets 50 or 60 this game he’ll be the leading scorer in club cricket this season. He’s made a start by getting his foot in the door at the Firebirds and here’s a chance for him to prove he’s more than just a one-dimensional Twenty20 cricketer.

“Ronald Karaitiana is another guy who has had a stellar year, with almost 40 wickets and 700 runs. Another key player for us is Jamie Gibson, a young up and comer who had a fantastic One-Day Final for us and performed well for Wellington City, so this is a chance for him to carry on that form.”

Karori captain Hamish Templeton said his team’s eager to challenge Easts this weekend at the Basin. "We always look forward to playing against Easts, regardless of the format or situation,” said Templeton. “They've been the most consistent team this season so we're looking forward to taking the fight to them.

"Playing on the Basin Reserve is also a nice bonus for club players so our guys can't wait to get out there.

“We've got everything to play for since we need an outright win to take back the title. We've got a team full of all-rounders and that's our strength. The guys know their roles within the side and it's about everyone doing their bit. There is no better motivation for our guys than having a chance to beat Easts."

Asked to nominate a key player for Easts he added: “Karaitiana will be a key player for them with both bat and ball, he's been one of the form club players all year.”

The two teams met in round four of the Pearce Cup earlier this season, with the match ending in a draw. Easts took first innings points after scoring 288 to Karori’s 270. Easts declared at 162 for 7 in their second innings and stumps were pulled on day two with Karori on 57 for 1.

The Easts and Karori squad lists for the Final are:

Easts from:

Lance Dry (c)
Ankur Bassi
Josh Brodie
Jeremy Dean
Andrew Fullerton-Smith
Chamika Gajanayaka
Jamie Gibson
Ricky Joseph
Ronald Karaitiana
Josh McLauchlan
Niranjan Naguleswaran
Ben Orton
Jeetan Patel

Karori from:

Hamish Templeton (c)
Matt Atkin
Simon Baker
Tom Blundell
Harry Boam
Lee Edwards
Misty Jones-Middleton
Andy McKay
Steve Murdoch
Fraser Quarterman
Luke Scully
Jarred Sewell
Chris Spring
Fletcher Te Aika
Harry Wright

Match details

What: Wilkinson Pearce Cup Final
When: This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (29-31 March)
Where: Hawkins Basin Reserve (11.00am starts)

 Pearce Cup Facts

 The Pearce Cup was introduced in the 1996-97 season as the Senior Grade Trophy after the merger of the Hutt Valley and Wellington Cricket Associations
•    Five clubs have won the Pearce Cup: University twice (1996-97, 1997-98), Wellington Collegians (1998-99), Stokes Valley twice (1999-00, 2000-01), Eastern Suburbs 10  times (2001-02 through to  2009-10 and 2011-12) and Karori (2010-2011).

Individual records from the five completed finals are:
•    Highest individual score: Hamish Templeton 176 not out, Karori v Easts 2010-11
•    Best bowling in an innings: Ricky Joseph 7 for 42, Easts v Karori 2008-09
•    Best bowling in a match: Ricky Joseph (Easts) 12 for 112, Easts v Karori 2008-09
•    Highest innings score: 474-8 dec by Easts v Naenae 2006-07
•    Lowest innings score: 67 by Karori v Easts 2008-2009
•    Biggest winning margin: 9 wickets, Easts v Naenae2006-07

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