Wellington City has taken out the Dempster Shield with two overs to spare in a frenetic three day game at the Hawkins Basin Reserve over Anniversary Weekend. Needing to win the game outright after conceding first innings, City captain Lance Dry set Hutt Valley 278 off 71 overs which proved to be a masterstroke with the latter falling two overs short. The man of the moment was Eastern Suburbs allrounder Jamie Gibson who finished Hutt off with figures of 6-25 in a spirited spell of bowling.
Earlier City had won the toss and decided to bat on a flat Hawkins Basin Reserve pitch. Hutt bowled well and had City out after tea on the first day for 276. Gibson top scored with 73 while Hawkins Basin Reserve groundsman Hamish Blomfield took 3-44 with the ball.
Knowing first innings was enough to win the Shield, Hutt set about their work in a positive manner and were eventually bowled out for 314. Hutt District batsman Kieran Lennon top scored with 82 while Upper Hutt’s Matthew Taylor chimed in with 52. Fraser Quarterman was the pick of the City bowlers picking up 5-67 while Mark Gillespie returned from an injury layoff with figures of 4-64.
With Hutt in arm’s reach of lifting the Shield, City had everything to play for and their approach to the second innings showed this as they posted 327-4 declared off 74 overs. Onslow duo Andrew Fletcher and Barry Rhodes batted beautifully in posting the only centuries of the game. Fletchers 136 came off 206 balls including 16 boundaries while Rhodes scored at a fair clip in facing 128 balls for his 104 runs.
Needing to survive 71 overs or score 278 runs to lift the Shield, Hutt’s innings started well and at one stage were 121-3. However after a succession of wickets, City had a sniff of victory and never took their foot off the throttle as Hutt succumbed to the pressure to be all out in the 70th over for 195. Fraser Colson batted valiantly and was the last man out for a hard fought 50, while Taylor scored his second fifty of the match. The day however belonged to Gibson whose spell of bowling inspired City to a remarkable win.