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.

Corey Anderson Named For Knights Clash Against Firebirds

The Knights will get a Blackcaps injection tomorrow night with power hitter Corey Anderson named in the squad for the GPSS clash against the Firebirds.

Underwhelming performances with the bat on a good deck marred the Knights performance in the loss to Canterbury.

Anderson’s inclusion adds another option with both the bat and ball, the talented all rounder has been a match winner on the international stage before, and his experience alone will bolster the Knights in an important match against defending champions, the Wellington Firebirds.

Knights coach James Pamment says that Anderson has been in good form in the nets this week.

“He is whacking the ball back at the bowlers at quite a rate of knots and is looking in great touch,” Pamment said.

Apart from Anderson’s inclusion, the Knights squad remains unchanged.

Much to be desired still with GP Super Smash

New Zealand Cricket has addressed some of the issues with its Twenty20 competition for this summer, but the Georgie Pie Super Smash still leaves a lot to be desired.

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Beginning in November, the format of the Georgie Pie Super Smash sees roughly the same amount of games, but a much wider venue range than last summer including Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth for the first time.

Cobham Oval in Whangarei will also host a Northern Knights fixture.

Only one game per day will take place, except for the finals weekend at Yarrow Stadium, where three matches will take place in a rapid finals format much like last year.

17 of the 33 matches will be televised on Sky Sport, and times for games range from mid afternoon to evening.

But with the slight change to its flavour, the Georgie Pie Super Smash still hasn’t been altered enough to become a marketable tournament that will see larger crowds attend than last year.

Tickets for the grand final were being given away to generate interest last season.

With the Blackcaps playing a series in Australia that includes the inaugural day/night cricket test, New Zealand’s domestic competition is set to draw poor crowds again.

Only at the new venues will a large crowd go through the turnstiles so the likes of Yarrow Stadium and Cobham Oval, as well as The Mount will benefit, but average attendance should be expected at other venues.

Domestic sides haven’t revealed their big signings for the Super Smash, but with the Australian BBL starting shortly after, some big names could be secured for the right amount of money.

The Georgie Pie Super Smash begins on November 5th in New Plymouth.

Firebirds become champions in thrilling Super Smash final

The Wellington Firebirds have won the 2014 Georgie Pie Super Smash after just edging out the Auckland Aces this afternoon at Seddon Park.

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It was the best game of the competition without doubt, and in the process the Firebirds have booked a ticket to domestic crickets premier competition, the Champions League.

Being sent in to bat, Michael Pollard again proved why he is an opening batsmen to watch closely as he blazed a magnificent 76 to help the Firebirds to a total of 186. James Franklin was explosive with the bat, sending two balls out of the park as he reached 31, before Grant Elliot chipped in with an aggressive 40 in the dying overs of the Firebirds innings.

Chasing 187 to win, the Auckland Aces kept themselves within a chance right throughout the run chase.

Craig Cachopa played an aggressive and smart innings, getting to 37 before being dismissed.

But watching the game there was a sense that if Colin Munro was at the crease, the Aces were in with a chance to bring it home. Munro put in arguably he best innings in the Aces uniform, blazing multiple sixes out of the ground, but was cruelly caught out on the boundary line as he tried to keep up with the growing run rate.

In the end, the Aces fell 6 runs short and kept themselves in the game right up until the end.

Cachopa bats Auckland Aces into Super Smash finale

The Auckland Aces have booked a place in the Georgie Pie Super Smash grand final after easily beating the Northern Knights.

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Valiant bowling efforts from Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, and Scott Kuggeleign didn’t aid the Knights in their efforts to stop the Aces cruising to victory at Seddon Park this evening.

Aces batsmen Craig Cachopa forged a half century as together with Colin Munro.

The pair hit timely blows for fours and sixes which always kept the run chase in perfect comfort, sending the Knights packing from the Georgie Pie Super Smash competition.

Cachopa went on to put in his best innings of the Super Smash, finishing unbeaten on 67.

In the end the Aces chased down the 141 run total with ease, and it all began when the Knights batting let them down again.

A hat trick to Michael Bates highlighted some top notch bowling by the Aces after the Knights had gotten off to a flyer early in the first innings.

It was second straight collapse in back-to-back playoff matches for the Knights after earlier in the innings Kevin O’Brien had smashed 52 runs off just 25 balls in one of the best innings seen in the Super Smash tournament.

The record-holding Irish import gave the Knights the best platform to what should have been an imposing total.

Problems arose for the Knights as the middle order again failed to bring the innings home. Daryl Mitchell struggled to get going with the bat and after he was bowled by Michael Bates, the lower order crumbled suddenly.

The last five overs in the Knights inning saw an RR of a run per ball for the Knights.

Unable to take advantage of the solid start, the Knights sunk to being bowled out in the last over for just 140 runs.

Firebirds smash Knights to advance to Super Smash final

The Wellington Firebirds have booked a place in Sunday’s Georgie Pie Super Smash final after easily beating the Knights in Hamilton tonight.

Bowler-friendly conditions aided the Firebirds bowlers to restrict the Knights to just 124 in an innings which saw not a single six hit mixed within some fairly questionable decisions by the Knights batsmen along the way.

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Two poor decisions which led to Knights wickets stand out from tonights preliminary final.

Opening batsmen Brad Wilson attempted to charge down the crease to hit Jeetan Patel out of the park, instead he clean missed the ball and was easy picking for the stumping by Firebirds keeper Michael Papps.

Not only was it a poor out for a batsmen of his calibre, but a poor decision given how early it was in the innings.

The problems out in the middle continued when Travis Birt was run out for just 2 runs after he failed to get back into his crease in what was a questionable choice for a second run in the first place.

Knights captain Daniel Flynn couldn’t continue his fine Georgie Pie Super Smash form, holding out in the field for 19.

But for a valiant fighting partnership between all rounders Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn at the close of the innings, the Knights would have pushed the record for one of their lowest ever totals in Twenty20 cricket.

Mitchell was the top scorer for the Knights, ending on a highly respectable 36 runs.

In the run chase, the Firebirds got off to a rocketing start unlike their fellow North Island rivals.

Reaching 50 runs in the first 6 overs, Michael Papps batted the Knights out of the fight early in the run chase after Papps carted Scott Kuggeleijn around Seddon Park for a massive over somewhere in the region of 20 runs plus.

Various miss-fields didn’t help the cause, and with ten overs remaining in the match, the Firebirds were cruising to what would be one of their easiest victories of the competition. Stephen Murdoch joined Papps to forge a partnership of over 50 runs, batting the Knights out of the game easily.

Papps powered to a half century, and helped the Firebirds to secure the match well in hand with plenty of overs to spare.

Trying to smash Kuggeleijn for a second over in successive spells, Papps hit the ball straight to Daniel Flynn to be dismissed for a match-winning knock of 65.

But the damage was done, and the Firebirds went onto win with a gallop leaving 8 wickets left in the shed.

The Georgie Pie Super Smash is not yet over for the Northern Knights however, though morale will be low after the performance on the park tonight.

The Knights were average, their loss was comprehensive, and it was easily the worst performance of the season thus far.

Tomorrow the Knights will play Auckland in a sudden death playoff game which if they win, will qualify for the Grand Final on Sunday against the team they lost to tonight, the Wellington Firebirds.

Northern Knights relatively comfortable in Georgie Pie lead

The SkyCity Northern Knights are sitting pretty at the top of the Georgie Pie Super Smash table as the competition rolls forward around the country.

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After the first couple of weekends in Hamilton, the Knights have kept their position as the best team in the competition with wins against Canterbury and Auckland, and will look to keep the momentum with a victory over the Volts on Sunday afternoon in Wellington.

A victory against the Volts on Sunday would make a finals appearance that little bit more possible.

The Knights have another 3 games to play in the Georgie Pie Super Smash, Sunday against the Volts before a matchup in Napier against the Central Stags on November 29th and then the Auckland Aces the next day.

Both the Kings and Aces who sit second and third on the table respectively remain the biggest points of interest for the Knights.

The Knights have the advantage of a game less to play in the Georgie Pie Super Smash, while both the Kings and the Aces are set to play another 4 games before the finals weekend in Hamilton.

With three games remaining in their season, the Wellington Firebirds now need to win all their games to be a viable contender for the finals.

The chances of the Central Stags and Otago Volts are all but dashed.

The Knights will be without the services of Daniel Vettori and Anton Devcich this weekend however as both players are away with New Zealand A.

Knights silence sell out Kings crowd to continue winning ways

The Northern Knights have continued their rich form after beating the Canterbury Kings this afternoon.

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Played down at the newly ICC approved Hagley Oval in Christchurch this afternoon, Kings fans were left disappointed as the sell out crowd failed to stop the Knights from getting the victory away from home.

A brilliant opening stand of 116 between Daniel Flynn and Anton Devcich set the Knights up for a big total, with healthy additions by Daryl Mitchell (22) and Daniel Vettori (21) later in the innings, setting the Kings up for a 185-run chase to seal the victory at home.

But victory never came for the Kings.

A solid 44 by Ronnie Hira got Canterbury off to a good start, but the Kings began to fall away after the first wicket fell.

When Kings linch pin Aiden Blizzard retired hurt, a valiant innings of 33 by captain Peter Fulton was not enough as the Knights bowlers ripped through the Kings batting order, bowling them out with a couple of balls to spare and 20 runs short.

Scott Kuggeleijn finished with figures of 4/40 from his spell, and was the pick of the Knights bowlers.

The win puts the Northern Knights on top of the Georgie Pie Super Smash table.

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.

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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.

Northern Knights to keep similar formula as Georgie Pie Super Smash continues

Daniel Flynn and head coach James Pamment have taken nothing away from Canterbury after the Knights first loss in the Georgie Pie Super Smash on Friday night.

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Fresh off one of his best Twenty20 innings yet, captain Daniel Flynn was pleased with his innings but acknowledged that more runs on the board may have tipped things in the Knights favor against the Kings.

“Last night guys struggled to come in and get underway. It’s obviously something we need to look at.”

From a Blackcaps perspective, Daniel Flynn is focused and hopeful to return to the international stage at some point.

“I want to play for New Zealand again so everytime I go out to bat it’s all about scoring runs and putting your name up into the headlights. While I am here with ND as captain it is about trying to win trophies and perform. Hopefully if I can do that the rewards will come.”

Coach of the Northern Knights James Pamment was disappointed with the result against Canterbury on Friday night.

“When you play against a team like Canterbury you have to be on top of your game and I think last night we just weren’t quite on top of our game.”

But Pamment remains confident in his sides chancing going forward through the Georgie Pie Super Smash.

One of the key issues for the Knights so far in the Georgie Pie Super Smash despite the record of 2-3 is the failings to capitalize on the setting up of platforms for big totals with the bat.

“Lets not take away from the fact that the opposition are bowling really well. In the previous fixtures we haven’t quite had the wickets in hand to mount a charge where as last night against Canterbury we did.”

Pamment believes having another 15 to 20 runs gives a little more comfort to the bowling effort when defending first innings scores.

The Knights have proved capable of defending mid range totals, as was the case in the first two matches of the campaign.

As coach of the Knights, Pamment believes that there is terrific depth in Northern Districts Cricket, and rates Anton Devcich as a big chance to represent the Blackcaps during next years Cricket World Cup.

“I am sure he will make the extended world cup squad of thirty” Pamment said on Devcich.

The Knights will be minus 9 players for the final three fixtures of the Georgie Pie Super Smash as members of the team head to the UAE for New Zealand A and Blackcaps commitments.

Daniel Flynn and James Pamment will continue their Georgie Pie Super Smash campaign today against the Central Stags.