It is not often Robbie Breen is lost for words but he was very close to that point last weekend.
Breen wondered how best to sum up the feeling of lifting the Borton Cup as captain of the Oamaru-St Kevin’s team following its 143-run win over Waitaki Boys’ High School.
“It’s quite hard to describe it, really,” he told the Oamaru Mail
“A lot of hard work and a lot of effort went into this season, and it’s hugely rewarding to finish with the trophy.”
Oamaru-SKC was powered to the title by a masterful innings from Ash Abraham.
The Auckland import capped a fine season with a sparkling 110 off 122 balls as the combined side rattled up an imposing 288 for eight after winning the toss and batting first.
“It was just a massively responsible innings,” Breen said.
“He made sure we weren’t losing wickets, and he was pushing the singles and cashing in on bad balls. It was a great knock that really set the whole game up for us.”
It was a first title for the combined club.
Oamaru had not won the Borton Cup since 2007-08, and St Kevin’s College’s only title win was in 1998-99.
The side defied the odds at the crunch end of the season.
Oamaru-SKC won just two games in the round robin, scraping into the playoffs in fourth place, but produced two big performances at the right time to gets its hands on the Borton Cup after some lean seasons.
“Throughout the year, we were constantly struggling to find that 11th player, for one reason or another,” Breen said.
“We played some really nice cricket without much reward early on. And we knew, if we made the semifinals and had our top team together, we had the quality to win it.”
Waitaki Boys’ has struggled for runs this summer and really needed to restrict Oamaru-SKC to a modest total if it was to have a chance in the final, but as Abraham got settled, and Nick Johnston (35) and Craig Smith (34) stayed with him, the tally mounted.
The dangerous James Ferris lasted just three balls, but Jordan Bartlett kept momentum going with 43 off 49 balls.
Francois Mostert (four for 44 off 10) led the Waitaki bowling attack, while Scott Kitto went wicketless but pulled the run rate back.
Kitto then did his part with the bat, whacking 62 off 51 balls, but he got little support as the schoolboys missed their chance to win a second Borton Cup in three years.
Abraham’s knock took him to 688 runs for the summer (average 38.22), while Ferris finished with the exceptional double of 565 runs (56.50) and 28 wickets (10.07).
Breen was reluctant to forecast this summer as the beginning of an Oamaru-SKC dynasty.
Ferris is moving to Auckland, Ben Coleman will almost certainly retire (again) – and others in the team will be “a year older and a year sorer.”