Paul Harris Bowls Nashua Titans to MTN Domestic Championship Win

Otto SaaymanContributor IJanuary 17, 2009

It was a day the Gestetner Diamond Eagles and their supporters will want to forget in a hurry.

The Nashua Titans defended their title and humiliated the Eagles by traveling to Bloemfontein and obliterating them in front of their home crowd in the final of the 2008/ 2009 MTN South African Domestic Championship.

The Eagles had the worst of starts after Loots Bosman (5 off 6) was run out by Morné van Wyk with a little help from Blake Snijman.

The Eagles opener was watching the ball instead of listening to Bosman calling him for the run. Bosman was stranded in the middle of the pitch watching as his stumps were broken by a pin-point throw from Snijman.

Rilee Rossouw joined van Wyk and both men looked nervous and tentative before van Wyk was caught (1 off 12) by a brilliant move from Martin van Jaarsveld off the bowling of Roelof van der Merwe.

Van Wyk set himself for a soft paddle to fine leg, unaware that van Jaarsveld saw his intent, ran from first slip to leg slip, stuck out his left hand caught the ball flying off van Wyk's bat.

Just like everyone in the OUTsurance Oval, including van Jaarsveld himself, van Wyk was flabbergasted, but had to walk.

Rossouw (39 off 59) was the only real threat in the Eagles line-up as the Titans strangled their hosts with one over of spin or slow bowling after another. The Eagles batsmen had no answer and Martin van Jaarsveld who conceded five runs off his single wicket-taking over was the most expensive bowler for the Titans.

Paul Harris, fresh from a solid performance for the Proteas in the test series against Australia, stole the show with 5 for 27 off his 9 overs. He wrapped up the tail in style taking the last 5 wickets of the innings. The Eagles stuttered to 138 all out in the 44th over.

Blake Snijman started the Titans' run chase by swinging hard at Dillon du Preez's first delivery of the innings. If the second slip had reacted a little quicker and caught the ball whizzing over his head, the night might have gone the Eagles' way.

Gulam Bodi and Blake Snijman quickly settled in to the chagrin of the Eagles. With some excellent shot selection by both men and the occasional six thrown in by Bodi, the Titans marched steadily to an inevitable victory.

After Bodi (69 off 87) departed and Roelof van der Merwe (4 off 9) was dismissed cheaply, the job was sealed off by Martin van Jaarsveld (9 off 5 not out) and Blake Snijman (53 off 101 not out). The Titans scored 141 for 2, winning by 8 wickets in the 26th over.

A visibly disappointed Boeta Dippenaar congratulated the Titans after the match and the men from Pretoria celebrated the win amidst the stunned silence of the Bleomfontein crowd.

Paul Harris picked up the man of the match award in his first MTN Domestic Championship final, thanking his team who put him there.