Tom Walsh may have taken instructions to ‘throw the bat at something’ too literally when Team Cricket lost to Team Rugby in the annual Black Clash match at Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
Ex-All Blacks captain Kieran Read led the oval-ball side to victory with 84 from 55 balls in front of a packed crowd in a match that saw a swag of former stars in both codes, along with a few current All Blacks.
Two-time Olympic shot put bronze medalist Walsh led off the at bat for Team Cricket alongside former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and made a hefty 34 off 26 balls at Bay Oval.
However, Walsh’s most damaging moment almost came during an action-packed run from All Blacks star Jordie Barrett.
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Faced with a free hit throw from Barrett, Walsh swung with the kind of ferocity he usually shows in the shot put circle, but also launched the bat from his hands as he made the shot after making enough contact to score four runs for a nice leg.
Barrett walked two and conceded 20 runs from his over, but later made a great dive on the square leg boundary to sack Hamish Marshall from ex-All Blacks captain Kieran Read’s bowling.
However, Jacob Oram skipped 21 runs from Barrett’s final, while recently retired wicketkeeper batter BJ Watling was the top scorer for Team Cricket with an unbeaten 58 from 36 balls, scoring 203-5 as the first of their 20 overs.
Former New Zealand speedster Shane Bond showed he still had plenty of pace, rushing Read early into Team Rugby’s response with a sharp bounce.
All Blacks winger Will Jordan made 63 from 37 balls as he and Read partnered for the first wicket for a century.
Chiefs flanker Kaylum Boshier, who captained the New Zealand under-19 cricket squad with Black Caps Rachin Ravindra and Finn Allen, fell to a catch by Fleming, but that only brought Brendon McCullum to the fold.
The former New Zealand cricket captain, who snuck up to the rugby side thanks to a few appearances for Matamata Sports Club in the Waikato Premier B league, hit a quick 28 from eight deliveries when he and Read scored 40 on an over from Bond that included double runs. counted to push the outcome heavily in Team Rugby’s favour.
Read, a former Northern Districts age group cricket representative, tried to score the winning runs when the scores tied, but a single off the first pitch of the final from Barrett took the Lomu-Crowe Trophy for Team Rugby.
Team cricket 203-5 in 20 overs (BJ Watling 58, Grant Elliott 44, Tom Walsh 34; Anton Devcich 2-25) lost to Team Rugby 204-4 in 19.1 overs (Kieran Read 84, Will Jordan 63, Brendon McCullum 28; Elliott 2-32) by six wickets.