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The Marist cricket team managed to hold Invercargill to a draw which game them the title for the 1962/63 season. It is the first time for 14 years since Marist have won the competition and one of the closet for some years.
Marist's last batsman, K.J. Moroney, joined G.H. Ward with 20 minutes left to play and the Invercargill bowlers literally threw everything at these two batters to try and displace one but they held on stubbornly to get the draw which made them the champions.
Earlier in the day Invercargill batsman, S.G. Morton scored a solid and impressive 78 and this allowed them to declare six for 159.
N.C. Beaton the Invercargill leg spinner had 4/59 and off-spinner D. McDonald 3/11 would have thought this would be enough to see the back end of the Marist team.
Invercargill batted slowly but surely early in the day with K.M. Lindsay and L. Williams partnering S. G. Morton and after lunch J. A. Gill scored a quick 21 which raised the tempo of the game.
There was an appreciation of the spinners for Invercargill especially in the first over with A.R. Will's first two balls beating left handed W. Williams and the wicket and wicket keeper. Morton was dropped at point which was an opportunity missed.
Invercargill declared at 2.40pm and this left Marist ample time to score the 160 needed to win. The pressure was put on the Invercargill bowlers and L.A. Ward answered the call with several inswingers to take 5/43.
With the absence of K.J. O'Connor for Marist, captain Wills in an unorthoxed decision sent W.J. Scully and B.J. Egan in, who are usually No. 10 and No. 11 respectively in the order, to open the batting.
The pair got 26 before Scully was out and then P.J. Lyons and Ward, who are usually consistent batters were out and Marist must have felt that it would be another year that they have missed winning the competition. They were in trouble.
Beaton had a marathon innings at bowling for Invercargill and had Ward caught for eight when he was trying to quicken the pace. Wills and A.J. Daly came together and were told by their skipper to consolidate and bat intelligently, which paid off as this got the team into the 80's
Marist could sniff the win but then Wills was out trying to cut McDonald, K.A. Taylor hit and six and was caught, then Beaton bowled Daly for 20. G.H. Ward came to the wicket with 75 minutes left. B.J. Harvey and B.W. Fletcher defended soundly but they know they needed runs to win so with Fletcher out at 5.40pm Moroney came to the crease and it was a nervous time as he is not known for his batting.
Ward faced the bowler as much as possible ass Beaton was bowling a accurate line, Moroney just needed to defend which he did well and all credit went to G.H. Ward who had probably never played such an important match in his life. Marist won with the draw and this was the first time since 1948/49 and captain, Wills was the only member left from that side.
Reference: The Southland Times April 1963 page 20.
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