Taita ran defending champions Karori close in Sunday’s Wilkinson Premier club Twenty20 final, before missing out by 5 runs and handing the Karori their seventh straight short format win.
Karori have maintained a stranglehold on Wellington’s club Twenty20 final since 2005-06 and were undefeated this season going into this final, but they were rocked early by Taita after winning the toss and opting to bat first.
The summary of the match was that Karori made 140 all out off their full 20 overs and Taita replied with 135 for 6, needing a six off the last ball of the match to tie, but it could have been a different story if not for a rescue mission by bowling all-rounders Jarred Sewell and Lee Edwards that saw them through to a defendable total.
Karori lost veteran Simon Baker, LBW, off the second ball of the match. But with a much vaunted top order around him including Wellington Firebirds captain Steven Murdoch, Firebirds back-up wicketkeeper Tom Blundell and century maker from Saturday Chris Spring, their supporters could hope for a quick recovery.
But 27 balls later, all three, plus first drop Hamish Templeton, who made a quickfire 25 off 12 balls, were back in the pavilion.
Templeton was the second to depart, clean bowled Andrew Sturt with the score on 31.
The home side then lost their next three wickets in the space of six balls to be reeling at 38 for 5 midway early in the fourth over of the match.
Murdoch (9) and Spring (1) both fell to Sturt in the same over as Templeton, while Blundell departed for a second ball duck with the second ball of the next over bowled by Hamish Blomfield.
It became 56 for 6 when Matt Atkin departed in the eighth over, before Sewell and Edwards counterattacked. Edwards made 38 off 25 balls, hitting three sixes, and was the next to go with the score on 109.
Sewell was more measured in making 31 off 43, and, together with some late hitting by Misty Jones-Middleton (14 off 12), carried the score up to 140.
For Taita, Blomfield took 4 for 19 off 4 overs and Sturt 3 for 31 off 3 overs. Taita captain and Wellington Firebird Mark Houghton kept it tight, bowling his 4 overs for 16, while Pat Houghton with 2 for 19 off 4 also bowled well.
Taita also lost an early wicket in reply, Sam Le Gros bowled by Liam Norwell with the score on 3. Two overs later Norwell captured the wicket of big hitting Phil Tunnicliffe, caught by Murdoch, and Taita were 19 for 2 at the end of the fourth over.
Opener Sam Dean was batting well, but then he was dismissed by left-armer Fraser Qarterman for 20 off 16 balls and Taita were now 31 for 3 in the sixth over and needing to up their run rate.
Dangerman Henry Walsh then departed off the bowling of Jones-Middleton for 6 and Taita’s chase was wobbling at 37 for 4 after six overs.
The target was now 104 to win off 84 balls when David Houghton joined his brother Mark at the crease. This pair batted at just under a run a ball for the next five overs or so before Mark was the next to go with the score on 70, LBW to Lee Edwards for 19 off 23 balls.
Chris Tait joined David Houghton in the middle and they now needed 71 to win off 46 balls.
They maintained the pace at a good clip for the next 6 overs but were always battling the run rate and it came down to them needing 20 off the final two overs.
Norwell bowled the last over, and on the penultimate ball snared the wicket of David Houghton, caught by Templeton for the game’s highest individual score, 47 off 35 balls.
The batsmen crossed and Tait now needed to hit a six of Norwell’s final regulation delivery of the match to force a tie. But all he could manage was a single and Karori held on for a narrow win.
Tait finished not out on 29 off 26 balls.
Norwell took 3 for 13 off 3 overs, while Edwards, Jones-Middleton and Qarterman were the other wicket-takers.Below: Karori riding their luck as a ball goes straight through the stumps lifting the off bail