Winning the toss local captain Amoa More elected to bat first, sending in opening pair Stephen Kavana and James Thompson.
The pair fought off a hostile attack from the big left arm quickie Henry Cassin and Kavana was on track to reach 50 but was stopped in his tracks by a diving one handed catch from Roger Scott. Thompson continued on at the other end banging a six over square leg to reach 50.
Mark Brown anchored the innings, scoring at just under a run a ball to score 25 retired.
Sitting at 93 for 2 Rarotonga were well in control of the match.
Enter the Karaka Stallions most ‘experienced’ player in spinner Lester ‘Fitzy’ Fitzpatrick.
Mixing in leggies, offies and a couple of mystery balls it took just two deliveries for Fitzy Fitzpatrick to effect a major Rarotonga batting collapse.
First skipper More was caught by the two left feet of keeper Mark Harvey, then debut Golden Oldie Jimmy Rennie was bowled by a ball that turned square.
Steven Daniels-Kirikava survived long enough to deny Fitzy his hat-trick, the next ball he was beaten by a leggie that spun round the legs and went crashing into a leg stump.
Stephen Peyroux steadied the ship, momentarily, until Fitzy sent down a mystery ball that had off pole flying and Rarotonga in a precarious position.
Fitzy picked up his fifth wicket the next over after Kiriau Turepu boomed a high ball to deep mid-wicket and the waiting hands of Cassin.
Tight bowling from Karaka’s captain Mark Webber (2 over’s, 23 runs for 1 wicket) kept the pressure firmly on Rarotonga however Teva Kirikava (29 not out) and Rama Taiki (45 not out) played through to set the Stallions 212 runs for the win.
Roger Wark opened the batting with Craig Lewis.
Lewis was the Stallions leading run scoring for 2013 and is coached by his partner Heather.
The pair looked solid until the second over when skipper Amoa More knocked over Lewis’ middle stump and Wark was walking after a quick single gone wrong.
It was going to take something special from inform batter Tony ‘Be Good’ Bellamy to get Karaka back on track.
Bellamy fought off a feisty challenge from Thompson, More and Taiki to show his class as he effortlessly made his way to a sensational 54 from just 32 balls.
Mark ‘Rabbit’ Harvey did a great job keeping the scoreboard ticking over pushing the gaps and feeding the strike.
Webber must have had dinner reservations as he got on with the task of scoring at a blistering rate, punishing the ball about Turangi to reach 38 runs from just 16 balls.
Karaka were cruising until captain More made a bowling change.
Making use of the wind, Teva Kirikava swung the ball in and out to collect four Karaka scalps in the space of 2 over’s.
First Cassin trapped in front, then big Murray ‘Mad Man’ Napier holding out on the boundary.
Roger Scott added to his 1 run the day before with a golden duck and Karaka’s number 11 Clive Franks showed his team mates why he’s top order material, banging a six down the ground before being caught and bowled by Taiki.
Rarotonga won the match by 86 runs, levelling the series and setting up a royal battle when the two teams meet again this Friday at the Ngatangiia field at 1pm.
Rarotonga oldies level the series against Karaka
he Rarotonga Oldies cricket team levelled the series yesterday after a win against the touring Karaka Stallions team.
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The Cook Islands News Team