By TONY WHITE
TOURING New Zealand cricket team, Canterbury Colts, maintained its unbeaten run with a powerful 8-wicket win over a Clarence River Cricket Association (CRCA) XI yesterday at Ellem Oval.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, CRCA, sporting a new-look squad with numerous teenagers, amassed 195 all out. The tourists reined in the total (196) for the loss of just two wickets.
"They played very well," CRCA captain Andrew Firth said.
"We lost early wickets then Mat Hartmann and I put together a partnership, but the wheels sort of fell off.
"We threw it away.
"The 195 was never going to be enough."
Canterbury's Under-21 team had previously won games against Inverell and Armidale and drew a three-day game against Coffs Harbour before the CRCA match.
Firth top scored for the local side with 56. He was ably supported by young South Services wicketkeeper/batsman Hartmann with 36.
East Royal Tavern batsman Robbie Kean chimed in with 19, Westlawn Under-16 player Brendan Purser 23, John Holmes 19 and Ryan Lynch 17.
South captain Brett Woods (6) was the first wicket to fall with the score at 12.
In-form Mat Kroehnert fell for a duck.
Best of the New Zealand bowlers was quickie Byron Newton (3-19) and off spinner, Patrick Reardon, 3-31.
Canterbury openers Dean Bermingham (30) and Danny Dowds put on a 42-run partnership to set the platform for the run chase.
Bermingham was out to Holmes but Dowds continued to plunder the CRCA attack eventually falling to Woods for a fine 94.
Jackson Pearce (64) and Adrian Robertson (1) were the not out batsmen.
Dowds and Pearce put on a 147-run, second-wicket partnership.
The CRCA's cause wasn't helped when young Westlawn fast bowler Rohan Hackett injured a disc in his back and had to retire. Hackett, one of the Valley's most promising cricketers, later sought physiotherapy from a chiropractor.
"We dropped too many catches," Firth lamented. "We missed a stumping of Dowds early on, but they (Canterbury) battled really well."
Canterbury manager Barry Townrow, making his seventh tour with the Canterbury team, was gracious in victory.
"From this match it looks like you (Grafton) have got three or four very good young players, particularly Hartmann," Townrow said.
"They acquitted themselves well and it augurs well for cricket in the local area.
"We always enjoy coming here. The hospitality is terrific."
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the reciprocal tours by Canterbury which begun in 1965.
Numerous players from previous Australian tours have gone on to represent Canterbury at first grade and provincial level with Graham Dowling captaining the 'Black Caps,' New Zealand, in the 1960s.
"This is a development tour where our guys get to play on different wickets in different conditions," Townrow added.
Canterbury take on Northern NSW colts at Lismore on Sunday before a three-day test match against the Emus at Alstonville next week.