New cricket challenge for MP

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Mark Patterson will never forget his last game of cricket in North Otago.

It was March 15, 2008, and his Valley team was meeting Oamaru in the final of the Borton Cup.

Valley batted first and was all out for 167, but its bowlers struck early in Oamaru’s innings to leave the side battling at 19 for three.

After Nathan Mitchell and Glenn Paterson gave Oamaru hope with a fourth-wicket stand of 58, Oamaru captain Ben Coleman walked out to bat.

“There had been quite a bit of banter leading up to the game between myself and Ben,” Patterson said.

“The defining over of the game was when I came on to bowl to Ben, who hadn’t scored a run all year, and he hit me all over the park – it turned the tide of the game.”

Coleman took 17 off one over from Patterson to see Oamaru through to 122 for five and, in a thrilling finish, Oamaru’s Khalil ur-Rehman hit the winning runs with three balls remaining in the innings to give Oamaru the Borton Cup for the 2007-08 season, defeating Valley by two wickets.

“I still haven’t really got over that. Nor has Ben, who does remind me about it on a regular basis,” Patterson said.

Patterson, now a New Zealand First List MP based in Clutha-Southland, has been named in the New Zealand Parliament XI which will compete in the Inter-Parliamentary Cricket World Cup in London next week.

Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, who served as an MP from 2012 to 2018, is rumoured to be a part of the Indian team which will compete alongside Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa in the eight-team competition.

The world cup will be Patterson’s first run for the New Zealand XI – and the former North Otago captain is excited about the prospect of brushing shoulders with legends of the game.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity to go and play against some pretty famous cricketers and parliamentarians from around the world,” he said.

The right-hander played Hawke Cup cricket for Canterbury Country for about 20 years and has fond memories of his four-year stint with North Otago from 2004-08.

“I loved my cricket in North Otago, it was a great wee cricket scene .. [and] there were some great characters,” he said.

“We didn’t set many records in those years, but it was a good team, good team spirit.”

In the 2006-07 club cricket season, Patterson played for Valley’s Borton Cup-winning team, which also won the Dick Hunt trophy and finished runner-up in the senior twenty-20 competition.

In his last season in North Otago, before he moved to Lawrence, Patterson won the Alexander Keith Memorial Trophy for services to North Otago Cricket.

The New Zealand Parliament Cricket XI – first formed in 1975 – is made up of MPs from Labour, National and New Zealand First, and parliamentary staffers.

The UK trip is a chance to emphasise how parliamentarians from both sides of the aisle can put political differences aside and work together to support communities and promote the interests of New Zealand.

The team will also attend engagements with the UK Foreign Office, and will be hosted by 10 Downing Street during the Cricket World Cup Final on July 14.

“Obviously it is an incredible opportunity to meet and play parliamentarians from other parts of the Commonwealth, essentially and to continue to strengthen those ties,” Patterson said.

“It will be good internally, too, because it starts to build those relationships across parties as well. Whenever we travel away we see the similarities and not just the differences.”

It is a self-funded trip, albeit with a lot of help from sponsors.

New Zealand’s opening game of the tournament is against South Africa on July 10, with matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh the next day.

The semifinals and final are on July 12.

Patterson leaves for the UK tomorrow and is joined by other New Zealand Members of Parliament Chris Bishop (MP for Hutt South), Greg O’Connor (MP for Ohariu), Ian McKelvie (MP for Rangitikei), Jamie Strange (List MP based in Hamilton East), Kieran McAnulty (List MP based in Wairarapa), Kiritapu Allan (List MP based in the East Coast) and Patterson (List MP based in Clutha-Southland).

The Parly Ferns, Parliament’s netball team made up of National and Labour MPs, is also competing in a three-way tournament near Parliament Square at Westminster this month.

World cup-bound . . . Members of the New Zealand Parliament netball and cricket teams gather before heading to tournaments in the UK. PHOTO: LAURA CLARK/TWITTER

Additional reporting Otago Daily Times