"Why did I do that" award

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian
www.sunlive.co.nz

Sideline Sid has a nomination for the 2017 "Why did I do that" award - putting forward the captain of the Counties Manukau cricket team, who won the toss against Bay of Plenty in their Hawke Cup match over the long weekend and then asked the Bay side to bat first.

The result was that on a track that has produced an avalanche of runs this season, the visitors fielded for two days, as Bay of Plenty smashed their way to 701 all out.

There are few more prestigious pieces of cricket silverware in the country, than the NZ Cricket minor association trophy that was presented for competition by Lord Hawke in 1910.

After a measured start, the Bay of Plenty representatives blasted their Counties counterparts out of the game with an almost flawless display of batting.

The huge Bay score equaled their previous highest total, when they relieved Hamilton of the NZ Cricket prize in 2013.

During the course of the three-day Hawke Cup Direct Challenge, the Bay boys rewrote the Bay of Plenty Cricket record book.

Leading the charge on milestones that go back to the regions first representative fixture in 1932, was Yorkshire limited overs captain Alex Lees, who is spending the English winter in the Western Bay of Plenty sun.

In 301 minutes at the crease, Lees established a number of batting achievements that will last long into the future.

His 223 runs is a new highest score by a Bay of Plenty representative batsman, eclipsing Joe Carter's 215 against Poverty Bay in 2014.

The English visitor and Joe Carter, who also played in the Bay Oval match, are the only two Bay of Plenty batsmen to blast through the two hundred run mark in representative cricket. 

Other milestones established by Alex, are the highest Hawke Cup score for the Bay along with the highest score by a Bay of Plenty player on debut (and Hawke Cup debut).

In partnership with skipper Peter Drysdale, they put on a 197 run partnership, with Drysdale going past the 2500 run mark in his turn at the crease.

Donavan Deeble, who is better known as a bowler, grabbed his own part of Bay of Plenty Cricket history belting a century on Hawke Cup debut.

However, the match didn't just belong to the three record holders with Ben Musgrave, Sean Davey, Tony Goodin and keeper Tim Clarke all spending long periods at the crease.

The Bay of Plenty bowlers then showed that the Bay Oval wasn't a batsmen's paradise, bowling their opponents out for 220.

The Bay bowlers ripped into the opposition from the opening ball, grabbing the first wicket with just three runs on the board.

There was little time for celebrations on Monday afternoon, with what could be a marathon cricket schedule on the horizon.

Next weekend the Bay team travel to the Waikato to go to battle with long-time rivals Hamilton, before their second Hawke Cup defence in two weeks time.

Further successful Hawke Cup defences, could see the Bay of Plenty first eleven play on seven successive weekends, in the next two months.

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