First final on the park
I think I can safely say most club crickets in Taranaki look forward to getting the opportunity to play on Pukekura Park. I was very fortunate to be heading there for what was just my third game for Inglewood.
Our two day final, Inglewood's first in over fifty years, was against a powerful New Plymouth Old Boys team, stacked full of Taranaki rep players.
The day itself didn't start too well personally for me. NPOB were sent in to bat first and I dislocated my finger while fielding. Luckily one of the NPOB batsmen was able to pop the finger back in, and after a bit of icing and strapping I was able to continue.
Old Boys played well on that first day and were finally dismissed for 329 at the end of the day.
We turned up on day two to a perfect sunny day. Our task was simple, bat the day and win the game.
Our innings didnt get off to the best start. Before we knew it we were 16 for 2 and I was joined out in the middle by Debu Banik. It was hard work that first session, it took me over ten overs to get off the mark, but Debu and myself made it safely through to lunch.
After lunch Debu came out and really started to dominate a tiring Old Boys attack. I was able to stick it out there with him and we had put on 161 for the third-wicket. This next part of the game I distinctly remember. There was one ball left in the over and Old Boys were making some field adjustments. I looked around and for the first time there wasn't three slips and a gully, but a simple ring field. Maybe seeing this I mentally relaxed a bit, or maybe it was just a bit of fatigue, but that last ball of the over I punched one off the back foot through the covers, and pretty much on auto pilot set off running between the wickets. We completed two runs and I touch and turned to head back for a third. It took a while to register, but I realised Debu wasn't coming back for a third, and by the time I turned to get back into my crease I was run out for 69.
Unfortunately Debu was later dismissed for 99 and Inglewood collapsed to fall 93 runs short of victory.
As a young player I was disappointed but I soon shrugged it off thinking we will win the next one. Little did I know fourteen years later we are still trying to win the bloody thing!