The invitational Ducks & Drakes cricket team celebrated its 70th tour to Central Otago in style over Easter, winning all four one-day games.
The first tour involved a team from the Timaru Old Boys Cricket Club in 1959. Since then it has evolved to a selection of up-and-coming South Canterbury cricketers, along with some experienced old hands.
The 70th edition of the team had a couple of close calls but dug deep when it mattered.
First up, the Ducks & Drakes beat Palmerston after setting a massive score of 312 for eight, with the impressive Jacob Naylor scoring 113 not out and Liam Beck falling just short of his century with 94.
In reply, Palmerston were 182 all out with Hamish McGuiness returning the excellent figures of three for 16.
Oamaru club side Union put up more of a fight at Oturehua. The Ducks & Drakes batted first, and brothers William and Alistair Harvey scored 62 and 61 not out respectively in the total of 202. Nick Johnson took five for 44.
Union fell nine runs short, 194 all out, McGuiness taking three for 25 and Shaun Rooney 3-39.
The third game was against Ranfurly at Ranfurly. Batting first, the Ducks & Drakes made 172 for seven. Sam Sharp made 39 and Alex Rippin 29.
The total proved too tough for the Ranfurly side, which was bowled out. McGuiness was again the top wicket taker with three for 38.
The Ducks & Drakes then made it a clean sweep through Central Otago by comfortably beating Oturehua by 78 runs.
“There have been three generations of the Rippins tour Central – Barry, Mark and then Alex this year.”
Batting first, the visitors were all out for 216 with the in-form McGuiness stranded just short of his century on 94 not out, while Rooney made a handy 27.
Rooney then finished his tour in style, nabbing five Oturehua wickets for 24 runs.
Duck & Drakes co-organiser Brian Dore, who has more than 50 tours under his belt, said there were several highlights.
“It’s not often we win four from four and the boys took some very good catches.”
Dore said it was also great to see sons following in their fathers’ footsteps by touring with the Ducks & Drakes.
“There have been three generations of the Rippins tour Central – Barry, Mark and then Alex this year. Warren Eddington’s son Alex is a handy cricketer, like his father.”
Dore said the original idea for the tour was to foster cricket and friendships and it had been a roaring success. The 70th tour party numbered 16 players and 40 in total.
Two members of the original Ducks & Drakes team survive: Noel Dellow and Maurice Purcell.
Over the 70 years, the Ducks & Drakes have played 280 games, winning 178, losing 65, drawing 21 and tied one, with 16 washed out.
The name for the team came about on the original tour when, at the Ranfurly Hotel, one quick-witted person noted there were 11 drakes and one duck – Mrs Collins, who had joined the group with her husband, Eric – and the name stuck.
Playing squad: Mark Rippin, Alex Rippin, William Harvey, Cameron Lundie, Sam Sharp, Sean Wills, Jake Naylor, Liam Beck, Hamish McGuiness, Ryan Lewthwaite, Shaun Rooney, Alistair Harvey, William Sharp, Alex Eddington, Jamie Eggleton, and Jeff Dore. – Contributed