The annual T20 doubleheader between NZ Croatia and Northern Maori took place at the weekend.
Although the rain was threatening, Rotorua’s Smallbone Park looked a picture and these two proud cricketing cultures were keen to get underway.
The Croats proudly welcomed four debutants to the club. James Thompson, Olly Tilley, Tom Yarrall and Ryan Majstrovic were presented with their caps, and all played a pivotal role throughout the day.
After a short delay, the outfield dried out and the covers came off. NZ Croatia captain Joey Yovich won the toss and asked Northern Maori to have a bat on what looked a decent wicket first up.
Tom Yarrall and James Thompson opened up with the ball and bowled good tight lines. Boundaries were hard to come by and the Bros never really got out of third gear. Josh Bates batted positively and ended up on 37 not out to guide the home team to 124/4.
Coming off at the break the Cros felt they had the momentum going into the second innings and, under instruction from their skipper, were advised to play positively and make use of the early fielding restrictions.
Joey Yovich and Matt Vujcich opened the innings and got the run chase off to a quick start. Matt was left stranded on 7 after sharp work from Michael Bing had him stumped off a wide.
This brought Dusan Hakaraia to the crease who made a quickfire 35, striking at over 200. James Thompson played a cameo before Dan Marsic strode out to hit the winning runs.
Joey Yovich had ended up 48 not out. Timoti Weir was the pick of the bowlers with one for 26 off his four overs.
After the lunch break, the home side won the toss in the second T20 and elected to bat first in what would be a similar outcome to the first game.
Leighton Parsons contributed at the top of the order with 26 before James aka Jimmy Skillet Piskulic took the first of his two wickets.
Again Josh Bates anchored the innings with 41 off 34 deliveries.
After their allotted overs Northern Maori had posted 125/7.
After a slight shuffle in the batting order, NZ Croatia lost an early wicket as Matt Vujcich feathered one to the keeper off Weir, who continued his form from earlier in the day.
Unfortunately for the Northern boys that saw Thompson join Dusan Hakaraia at the crease who was showing his ability to hit the ball to all corners of the ground.
“Dush” who is of course also a proud Croat made 70 off 35, whilst Thompson made a run-a-ball 37. This saw the Croats take it with five overs to spare.
Overall the cricket was played in great spirit and the coming together of each other’s culture was enjoyed by all. A huge thank you again to the ND boys and we look forward to our next encounter.