GPSS: Nick Kelly saves the day for Northern

Nick Kelly has saved the day for the Northern Knights, helping his side escape a dire situation to beat the Central Stags by 2 wickets in Hamilton.

Despite his inexperience, Nick Kelly remained composed despite the Knights run chase crumbling late in the match thanks to some woeful decision making by other Knights batsmen.

Kelly chanced his arms and brought his side home with a fantastic knock of 36 off 16 deliveries, sealing the victory with a six in the final over.

Despite the win, the Knights nearly blew what had earlier appeared to be a walk in after Anton Devcich continued his rich run of form.

Chasing 171 for the victory, Devcich notched his 10th first-class twenty20 half century, steering the Knights towards home with a display of batting that included aggression and control.

Central Stags import Mahela Jayawardena earlier struck an aggressive knock of 76 runs off just 52 deliveries to set a strong total on a pitch that was seeing the ball do things off the bounce.

The full story:

Mahela Jayawardena showed every bit of class that has made him become a great of Sri Lankan cricket, showing controlled aggression early.

Jayawardena formed a 50-run partnership with Josh Clarkson, helped the Stags to a launching platform late in the innings.

Ish Sodhi broke through when Clarkson was caught for 31, finishing a tidy spell of bowling for the Knights spinner.

Jayawardena was dismissed moments later after finding the top edge, allowing an easy catch for Tim Seifert.

Dane Cleaver looked to finish strongly for the Stags, smashing a quick fire 18 before being clean bowled by Scott Kuggeleign.

The Stags posted 170 runs for the loss of 6 wickets from their 20 overs.

Daniel Flynn struck two boundaries, utilizing the fast pace of Adam Milne, but the Stags quick had the last laugh, delivering a beauty to clean bowl the Knights captain.

Irish import Kevin O’Brien looked dangerous for the Knights but was furious with himself when he cut the ball straight to a Stags fieldsman.

Blackcap and power hitter Corey Anderson slightly leveled the ship for the Knights with some quick boundaries but was dismissed trying to play one aggressive shot too many.

Devcich continued his rich run of form, keeping the run rate comfortable and bringing up his 10th first-class T20 half century.

Under pressure to perform, Daryl Mitchell struck a brilliant straight drive for six.

When Mitchell and Devcich both departed late, the Knights were in deep trouble.

Nick Kelly, in just his fourth match, remained calm and found the boundaries, but he was losing men around him.

Seth Rance took the match down to the wire with his second wicket of the night.

Kelly struck a six in the final over to win the match for the Knights.

Key stories from the match:

  • Northern Knights won toss & chose to bowl first.
  • Northern Knights quick and Dutch import Tim van der Gugten goes for 24 off first over bowled. 
  • Mahela Jayawardena reaches 50 (29th First Class T20 half century)
  • Central Stags reach 100 runs from 12 overs.
  • Partnership between Mahela Jayawardena and Josh Clarkson goes past 50. 
  • Central Stags post 170 runs.
  • Northern Knights scrap as the RRPO remains at 8.

 Northern Knights reach 100 off 11 overs.

  • Anton Devcich reaches 50 (10th First Class T20 half century) 
  • Nick Kelly scores 36 off 16 balls.
  • Northern Knights win by 2 wickets.

Jesse Ryder Kept Out Of Televised Matches Due To Side Strain

Few may have noticed, but Jesse Ryder has been missing from the last two Central Stags GPSS games.

Ryder hasn’t been seen in either of the two televised Stags games played at Yarrow Stadium (Saturday and Wednesday) but no official comment from the Stags has been made.

According to Ryder, this is due to a side strain injury.

Ryder said the injury was “not ideal” but gave no further comment. The injury was, presumably, suffered during the Stags opening round loss to the Otago Volts. There is currently no official time frame on Ryder’s return.

Knights beat Central to equal top of the Georgie Pie ladder

The Northern Knights have bounced back after a disappointing result last match to comfortably beat the Central Stags by 25 runs in front of a strong crowd at Seddon Park in Hamilton.


Ending with a total of 166, it was the highest score so far in the Georgie Pie Super Smash for the Knights who elected to bat first on a two paced deck which was predicted to turn late in the weekend.

Travis Birt proved why he is arguably the Knights’ most valuable re-signing this season, smashing a solid 68 while being the aggressive anchor for the batting effort throughout the innings after finding himself at the crease early.

Birt was helped by Dean Brownlie who put in one of his best innings yet in Knights colors.

The former Cantab batsmen got to 35 before being caught and bowled by Stags spinner Ajaz Patal.

There has been much talk about the Knights failing to capitalize on the opportunities for big scores with the bat so far in this campaign, but Daryl Mitchell helped Birt work the Knights to their tournament best 166 total, a score that was looking like a long lost hope at the halfway point in the innings as the Knights began to slump.

Mitchell kept his wicket secure, finishing with a very respectable 35.

But the strike rate was the more telling factor, 140 and Mitchell’s best in the Georgie Pie Super Smash thus far.

The Central Stags run chase looked unlikely from the get go, Mitchell Satner and Scott Kuggeleijn keeping the overs tight early on.

The Knights went with four spinners in the game with the turning pitch.

Satner, in his first outing in the Georgie Pie Super Smash, nabbed the wicket of George Worker, before Aussie import Ben Laughlin broke the hugely important Stags pairing of Jamie How and Kieran Noema-Barnett when Barnett held out in the field to Kuggeleijn to have the Stags sitting at 61/3 after 10 overs.

The final nail was put into the Central Stags coffin when captain Jamie How was dismissed by Ben Laughlin for a valiant 29.

Despite a defiant 34 by Stags wicketkeeper Kruger Van Wyk late in the innings, the Stags were never going to win.

The win sees the Knights in a strong position on the Georgie Pie Super Smash ladder, though there is still a lot of cricket remaining, including the sell out crowd waiting for the Knights down in Canterbury on Thursday afternoon.

The result also saw the strongest crowd attendance for the Super Smash so far.