Smith the standout in title win

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Oamaru has halted Valley’s surge towards a fourth consecutive Dick Hunt trophy title.

Captained by Robbie Breen, Oamaru defeated Valley by 14 runs in the final at Whitestone Contracting Stadium on Saturday.

Rain in the morning delayed the start and the match was reduced from 50 overs to 35 overs each.

Oamaru won the toss, and Breen decided to bat.

Experience in the form of Stephan Grobler (44) and Craig Smith (94 not out) provided a solid base for Oamaru, the pair featuring in a 74-run third-wicket partnership.

Breen said it was satisfying to get the win and get the Dick Hunt trophy back to Oamaru.

Oamaru had come a long way in the past 12 to 18 months – from struggling to put a team on the field to winning the Borton Cup last year and now the Dick Hunt trophy.

“We had some big fellas step up to the bat. Craig Smith was as classy as always .. he was ridiculous, he was the standout of the day,” Breen said.

“When we were bowling we very much just drew our boundaries and created pressure that way .. and got there in the end.”

Jordan Bartlett went early for seven, but all-rounder Nick Johnston (24) got together with Smith and the pair pushed through to 175 for three in a 63-run partnership.

Will Sunderland and Smith saw the total through to 203 for the loss of five wickets, with Sunderland dismissed on the final ball of the innings.

Valley captain Hamish McKenzie said his team started the chase confidently, with openers Lachie Kingan (55) and Rhys Petrie (42) guided it through to 98 before the first wicket fell.

“They got us going and when they were dismissed we were probably on target to win,” he said.

“But we didn’t quite get there.”

Valley then lost Francois Mostert and Cameron Grubb cheaply, and had to battle through to 161 for seven.

McKenzie was given support from a youthful trio in Ben and Liam Mavor and Ben Kay, who did not give up their wickets cheaply.

Bowling for Oamaru, Grobler took three for 38 and Nick Johnston one for 27.

In the end, Valley was dismissed for 189.

“Winning’s the bonus, but we weren’t too disappointed – it was a good performance from Oamaru, to be fair,” McKenzie said.

“It was a good game – Craig Smith was the difference, really, scoring 94, and just his bowling was difficult to score runs off,” McKenzie said.

“At the end of the day, [Smith] and Stephan [Grobler] were too classy, really, especially Craig.

“I’m too old to get upset about losing a game of cricket.”

– Additional reporting Otago Daily Times