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News

Croy's 'keeping could not prevent comfortable Auckland victory

Otago had the man of the hour in Martyn Croy with his share of the national wicket-keeping record, but it was Auckland who took the spoils from the State Championship match which Auckland won with seven wickets to spare this evening

Don Cameron
27-Feb-2002
Otago had the man of the hour in Martyn Croy with his share of the national wicket-keeping record, but it was Auckland who took the spoils from the State Championship match which Auckland won with seven wickets to spare this evening.
Actually Auckland, needing only 116 in the second innings to win, won with seven wickets, 11 balls and the fourth day to spare - clinching the victory at 7.45pm.
Taking the maximum six points from the match Auckland retain their position sharing first place on the top of the Championship table with Wellington.
Croy took his starring role when two catches in the first half hour gave him seven for the innings and abruptly ended the Auckland first innings at 316 - Rob Nicol, the second-day hero, unbeaten on 109.
Croy had set a new Otago record with his sixth catch, and his seventh had him sharing the national mark with Robin Schofield of Central Districts, Wasim Bari of Pakistan, Bryan Young of Northern Districts and Ian Smith of New Zealand.
The Otago second innings finished at 190, mainly due to an heroic 80 in 232 minutes by Chris Gaffaney (Rob Smith was the only other batsman to reach 20), and so Auckland had plenty of time chasing 116 for victory.
They went at the task eagerly, sensing the chance of a day's holiday tomorrow. They lost three wickets for 118, and unfortunately none of these went to Croy who, at better times, might have challenged the national match record of 10 dismissals held by Adam Gilchrist of Australia and Chris Nevin of Wellington.
Apart from Gaffaney and some stout work by Smith and his fellow tail-enders, the Otago second innings was disappointing.
Batting conditions were still good, the sun shone, there was a cooling breeze and too many of the Otago batsmen wasted the chance of taking their first innings toward 300 and pitting their spinners Smith and Nathan Morland against the Auckland second innings.
Instead Otago lost wickets in bunches. Simon Beare and Craig Cumming were out to consecutive balls at 13 to the young Auckland medium-fast bowler Gareth Shaw, who missed a hat-trick.
Robbie Lawson looked sound enough until he touch a catch from Shaw to the Auckland 'keeper with the total on 50. Gaffaney and Andrew Hore seemed to have stiffened the resistance as they worked toward 78, but then Brooke Walker took three wickets in one over at no cost, and Otago was virtually out of the contest.
Walker bowled Hore with what appeared, from the sideline perspective, to be a wrong'un which Hore did not read. Craig Pryor kept out one ball, got some bat to the next, but the ball rolled back and dislodged a bail. Croy lifted his bat clear, padded away Walker's next ball, and umpire Barry Frost ruled Croy lbw.
Morland played and missed Walker's hat-trick ball, but Otago had lost the heart of its innings at 78, when Otago were only three runs in profit. Morland was another Reece Young-Shaw victim at 104/7 and the end was nigh.
Not that Gaffaney noticed. He defended sensibly, and picked the right times to play his strong strokes with measured accuracy, and never a hint of hopeful slogging.
He seemed within reach of a meritorious century when Nicol had him lbw at 154/8 with the first ball of a new spell. Gaffaney had batted with marvellous determination for 232 minutes and had hit 13 fours from 162 balls.
Smith toiled away until Chris Drum knocked out his off stump at 164, and James McMillan and David Sewell worked sensibly until McMillan was lbw to Drum.
This last dismissal meant that Otago had offered up four lbw dismissals in each innings, whereas Auckland lost two wickets in each innings to lbw decisions.
As the only reasonable reporting position was high at mid-wicket the merit of the umpiring decisions could not be judged. However, it could be said that the bowlers who maintained a very accurate attacking line and were prepared to bend their backs (or the spinners who could get an increasing amount of turn) were likely to get a little movement and sometimes a livelier bounce from the pitch, and these appeared to strengthen the claims for lbw.