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Canterbury v Auckland (Shell Cup)

The Christchurch Press
8-9 January 1999

Priest misses out on hundred

Mark Priest was agonisingly close to one Shell Cup century, but has the chance of another when the rain-interrupted cricket match against Auckland resumes at Jade Stadium (Lancaster Park) today.

A scoreboard error left Priest stranded on 98 not out after he and the spectators believed a scurried single had taken him through to 100 from the second-to-last ball in Canterbury's innings of 233 for nine wickets.

Today Priest will begin rolling up his left-arm spinners already the holder of a cup record 99 wickets. Becoming the first to claim a century of victims might be some compensation for his batting disappointment.

Canterbury is likely to need an exceptional bowling performance by Priest or one of his team-mates. Auckland opening batsmen Aaron Barnes and Bryan Young have already knocked off 78 runs with imperious ease, from only 12.2 overs.

An examination of the scorebooks between innings revealed Priest's total was actually 98. That, in itself, was a remarkable achievement for the 37-year-old Priest, whose previous best in 79 cup matches had been the 37 he scored against Otago in his last home game.

Priest and Canterbury captain Gary Stead rescued an innings sagging at 56 for five. They shared a partnership of 132, only 10 runs shy of the Canterbury and New Zealand sixth-wicket record held by absent friends Chris Cairns and Stephen Fleming.

Both Priest and Stead survived catching and throwing calamities in the Auckland ranks. But they caused their share of damage, too. Auckland captain Blair Pocock suffered a hairline fracture of a thumb in the field, and left-arm opening bowler Richard Morgan dislocated a knee when dropping Priest at long-on. Pocock is expected to bat down the order, and Morgan only in case of dire necessity.

Priest and Stead batted with the skill and composure expected of Canterbury's senior men in a crisis. A promising start by openers Brad Doody and Craig Cumming had come to an abrupt end at the hands of Auckland medium-fast man Chris Drum. Drum had 18 runs plundered from his first two overs, then struck back to remove Doody, Robbie Frew, and Tim Walton at a cost of only four runs from his next five overs. He returned to complete a five-wicket bag.

Young swats Canty, dismisses record

Bryan Young was completely underwhelmed at becoming the most prolific run-scorer in Shell Cup cricket history during Auckland's seven-wicket win over Canterbury on Saturday.

``I don't take too much notice of that sort of thing,'' said the discarded New Zealand opening batsman, who scored the great majority of his 2217 cup runs for Northern Districts before transferring to Auckland this season.

During his innings of 64 at Jade Stadium (Lancaster Park) Young overhauled Martin Crowe (2171), Roger Twose (2202), and Canterbury's previous record-holder Rod Latham (2206).

``I'm just concentrating on what is in front of me at the moment, and that is Shell Cup cricket. I'm trying my hardest in that,'' said Young.

``Yes, I've got a few runs under my belt and that's always nice. I'm enjoying being part of the Auckland Aces.''

Young quickly replied ``of course'' when asked if he still had international aspirations. ``But all I can concentrate on is the Shell Cup, that's all that is under my control.

``I really haven't got much to say. I'm in a good frame of mind, and I'm not one to go to the media.''

In just five appearances for Auckland, Young has already been involved in two big opening partnerships, an unbeaten 166 with Blair Pocock against Central Districts and 134 with Aaron Barnes against Canterbury.

Young and Barnes had scored their first 78 runs - in reply to Canterbury's 233 for nine wickets - before rain halted play on Friday night.

By the time they were separated on Saturday Auckland was well on course for a comfortable win.

In the absence of the injured Pocock, Young (64 off 94 balls), Barnes (60 off 95 balls), Ian Billcliff (47 off 56 balls), and young Lou Vincent (31 not out off 38 balls) capitalised on a poor Canterbury bowling and fielding effort. Billcliff accelerated the inevitable result by reaping three sixes from the slow bowlers, the most emphatic of them - off Hamish Barton's bowling - slamming into the Hadlee Stand.

Source: The Christchurch Press
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