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HBHS wins 2017 Super Eight Cricket Tournament

The Hamilton Boys’ High School 1st XI Cricket team has launched its 2017 season by winning a fifth consecutive Super 8 Cricket shield in the Hamilton final on Thursday 26 January.

In a nail-biting finish against Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Jack Devane scored 53 not out and steered his team to victory as wickets fell around him in the closing stages of the match. It was a memorable week for the Year 12 student, particularly as this tournament was his first taste of HBHS 1st XI cricket.

A solid all-round bowling performance restricted Palmerston North to 172 in their innings -  James Gifford and Cory Townsend the pick of the home town bowlers. HBHS Captain Dilan Nanayakkara then knocked an impressive 43 runs to take the game away from the visitors in the afternoon, after the run chase had initially stuttered along.

With 49 runs required from 90 balls and with 5 wickets in hand, the equation seemed a mere formality for the hosts. However, consistent bowling, particularly from the PNBHS spin attack, applied steady pressure on the home side and the wickets continued to fall. In the space of half an hour, the equation became much more difficult, as 36 required from 60 balls with 4 wickets in hand soon became 24 from 42 with a solitary wicket remaining.

Devane was joined by team mate and fellow hostel boarder, Declan O'Brien, with most on the sidelines thinking it was too tall an order. However, the pair went to work and the pendulum swung towards the home side once more.  Whilst nervous supporters sat on the edge of their seats,  the formula whittled down to 2 runs required from 3 balls. A wide delivery squared things up and handed Hamilton Boys’ an extra delivery to finish the job.  O'Brien decided enough was enough and dispatched a boundary along the Jansen Park pitch to seal the victory for his side. He completed a vital innings of 10 not out, and joined his team mates and spectators in applauding the anchor, Devane, off the field.

Coach Chris Kuggeleijn, in the post match huddle, was both elated and relieved for the boys and pleased with the contributions made through the week by so many of his players. HBHS Director of Sport, Murray McKenzie, in his tournament wrap up, made special mention of HBHS 1st XI Manager, Tim Aughton, for his fantastic organisation during the week-long tournament.

Earlier in the afternoon, a youthful HBHS 2nd XI, deputising for the absent Rotorua Boys’ High School, saw off Gisborne BHS to claim 7th spot, much to the delight of coach Michael Dodunski.

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