Dual Olympic bronze medalist Tom Walsh looked dangerous for Team Cricket in the Black Clash versus Team Rugby.
Tom Walsh may have taken instructions to ‘throw the bat at anything’ too literally as Team Cricket lost to Team Rugby in the annual Black Clash game in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
Ex-All Blacks captain Kieran Read guided the oval-ball side to victory with 84 off 55 balls in front of a packed crowd in a match featuring a swag of former stars in both codes, along with a couple of current All Blacks.
Two-time Olympic shot put bronze medallist Walsh opened the batting 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 over from All Blacks star Jordie Barrett.
Facing a ‘free hit’ delivery from Barrett, Walsh swung with the sort of ferocity he usually displays in the shot put circle, but also launched the bat from his hands as he does the shot after making enough contact to score four runs to fine leg.
Barrett bowled two wides and conceded 20 runs from his over but later pulled off an excellent diving catch on the square leg boundary to dismiss Hamish Marshall off the bowling of ex-All Blacks captain Kieran Read.
However, Jacob Oram hit 21 runs of Barrett’s final over as recently-retired wicketkeeper-batter BJ Watling top-scored for Team Cricket with an unbeaten 58 off 36 balls as they made 203-5 batting first off their 20 overs.
Former New Zealand speedster Shane Bond showed he still had plenty of pace, hurrying up Read with a sharp bouncer early in Team Rugby’s reply.
All Blacks winger Will Jordan made 63 from 37 balls as he and Read made a century partnership for the first wicket.
Chiefs flanker Kaylum Boshier, who captained the New Zealand under-19 cricket side which featured Black Caps Rachin Ravindra and Finn Allen, fell to a catch by Fleming but that only brought Brendon McCullum to the crease.
The former New Zealand cricket captain, who snuck into the rugby side courtesy of a few games for Matamata Sports Club in the Waikato Premier B competition, smacked a rapid 28 from eight deliveries as he and Read scored 40 off an over from Bond in which runs counted double to push the outcome heavily in the favour of Team Rugby.
Read, a former Northern Districts age-group cricket representative, was out trying to hit the winning runs when scores were tied but a single off the first ball of the final over from Barrett clinched 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.