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Late-season heroics from the Premier Reserves

March 12 saw the BCCC Premier Reserves secure a second successive two-day first innings victory against Parnell to enhance the team’s late-season push to avoid relegation. The victory came against a strong Parnell side who before this match had won five of their six two-day matches and were in contention for promotion.

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Jason Hill and Manuel Seidel

Parnell won the toss and elected to bat on March 5 at Birkenhead War Memorial as they believed it gave them the best chance of an outright victory against the BCCC Reserves side who have struggled to get consistent performances on the board all season. The innings started badly with BCCC losing Kyle Williamson, who has generally provided a solid platform at one end, in the first over. Ethan Lovich provided some momentum with four consecutive boundaries in four balls before pulling a massive six into the bush within the first five overs. After searching for more than 20 minutes for the ball, the Parnell side opted to restart proceedings with a ball that was at least 40 overs old since they had no others spare.

Birkenhead lost another wicket against the old ball at which point Manoj Patel appeared from the bush with the almost-new ball which was gleefully accepted by Parnell. Two more quick wickets were lost and BCCC were 35 for 4 and staring down the barrel of another under par total.

The revival came via some old hands in the middle order in the form of Phil Treanor (107) and Jason Hill (38). The legendary Birkenhead duo provided a fantastic stand to see the reserves to a relatively respectable total of 210 all out.

The legendary Birkenhead duo provided a fantastic stand.

At stumps on Day 1, Parnell had lost two wickets for 70 runs with one wicket apiece to Manoj Patel and Harshil Pandya. Phil Treanor was replaced on Day 2 by another experienced and respected campaigner – Darrin Crook – who provided some strong words for the team to rally together before the start of play. Parnell’s not out batsman took their overnight score to 128 for 2 before Harshil struck twice in an over to reignite hopes for an unlikely BCCC victory. The runs ticked along and at 172 for 6 the game was in the balance with one of the Parnell openers inching towards his hundred and rotating the strike. This created opportunities for the home team to chip away at the lower order and when the Parnell opener was stumped by Simon Rajwer for 87, BCCC could taste victory.

The game went down to the wire with Birkenhead eventually prevailing by five runs via a sharp one-handed return catch by captain Manuel Seidel. Harshil finished with match-winning figures of 5-53 off his 23 overs while Manuel ended with 4 for 27 from 16.

Birkenhead went about their second innings with the goal of setting a target for the Parnell side in the last session. Ethan Lovich and Kyle Williamson scored quickfire 30s to set up a target of 177 off 17 overs. The game ended with Parnell at 102 for 6 with BCCC securing valuable bonus points to set up an exciting final round against the last-placed Ellerslie over the next two weekends. – Manuel Seidel

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