What looked like almost certain defeat was turned into one of the most remarkable wins in Mid Canterbury Cricket’s history on Saturday and a youngster playing in just his second Hawke Cup game was the man to thank.
Richard Turpie, 18, produced an unbelievable spell of bowling against Otago Country at the Ashburton Domain which featured a quadruple wicket maiden – including a hat-trick – and finished the game with figures that well and truly earnt him a spot on the Mid Canterbury Cricket honours board.
His 8/13 was Mid Canterbury’s new best, surpassing Bevan Ravenscroft’s 8/23 in the 2013/14 season.
When the game finished and Mid Canterbury’s players and supporters began celebrating an incredible 106-run win no one thought would have been possible a few hours earlier, Turpie’s achievement was still sinking in.
It was easily the best bowling of his career, with the best before that being 6/22, and it came at a time when his team really needed it.
Having been bowled out for just 64 on Saturday and then bowling Otago Country out for 83, Mid Canterbury started day two at 38/3 and after losing more quick wickets, weren’t confident.
But a knock of 64 from debutant Archie Redfern helped Mid Canterbury through to 161 all out.
Otago Country needed 142 runs to win and had a fair few hours to do it.
“Obviously it wasn’t many runs for them to chase, but considering the way the wicket was playing and the conditions we knew we were a chance but we’d have to bowl well to defend it,” Turpie said.
And bowl well they did.
Turpie took the opening wicket, before Deon Biggs chimed in with one. Turpie then took seven wickets in a row to take Otago Country from 7/0 to 9/8.
The real turning point was that one over – the eighth over – where Turpie started with a dot ball, then took a hat-trick, then bowled another dot ball followed by his fourth wicket of the over.
His hat-trick started with a catch by Tom Ravenscroft and was followed by two successful lbw shouts.
His eighth and final wicket was that of Sam Blakely, also lbw, while Alex Hooper took the final wicket, clean bowling Tom Myles with Otago Country’s score just 36.
Caleb Carson was Otago Country’s man there at the end, not out on 25, having just witnessed the unthinkable unfolding around him.
His side had capitulated to lose by 106 runs.
Turpie is no stranger to top level cricket, having played for Canterbury Under-17 in the past, and also making Canterbury Under-19 and Canterbury A this year, but the weekend’s game was just his second for his home team in the Hawke Cup.
He had just finished his final two years of schooling at Christ’s College and said he’d done a lot of work on the mental side of his game in recent time, something which paid dividends yesterday on a wicket he described as low, slow and unpredictable – tough to bat on, but a dream to bowl on.
After each wicket, he’d celebrate, but quickly regather his focus and walk back to his mark ready to do it all again.
At the end of yesterday’s remarkable performance, what he had achieved is still sinking in, but what had sunken in is the fact that the win ensured that his side was now well and truly still in the running to earn themselves a Hawke Cup challenge this season.
The winner of Mid Canterbury’s zone will earn a challenge against the current Hawke Cup holders – zone mates Southland – and Mid Canterbury had needed to beat Otago Country to stay in the running.
Doing some quick maths after the game yesterday, Mid Canterbury coach Garfield Charles said a first-innings win against North Otago in Mid Canterbury’s final zone match in Oamaru this weekend should do it.
Charles was blown away after the game, both by the result, and some of the individual performances like Turpie’s.
“It was an astonishing opening spell.
“For a young fella he was on the money the whole time,” Charles said.