Timaru sealed a meeting with Celtic in this season’s Twenty20 club cricket final after both notched comfortable wins against the competition’s cellar dwellers.
Celtic got the better of Star by 21 runs at Aorangi Oval on Friday evening, while Timaru scored 34 runs too many for Temuka to chase at Temuka Oval.
Celtic openers Glenn Matthews and Andy Scott made first use of a good track and dusty outfield on a perfect night for cricket at Aorangi.
Matthews, in particular, looked to hit straight on his way to 59 as the Celts made their way past 100.
Off-spinner Hamish Race pegged it back for Star, his flighted deliveries undoing Andrew Buckingham and Dan Laming cheaply on his way to 3-23 off four overs.
Leg-spinner John Beeby sent down an entertaining three overs at the death, picking up four wickets but conceding 39.
All-rounder Tom Pavletich came out swinging and connected with a couple for 25, including one six where he slipped and fell on his nose as he hit it.
Star took some quality catches including Phil McGregor’s diving effort to snare a high ball and as a result Celtic were never able to put the game to bed, finishing on 167-8 from their allotted 20.
Star started badly, losing McGregor for a duck, but a 61-run partnership between Hamish Race and Jacques Marais gave them the slightest of sniffs.
After Race departed Marais opened his shoulders bringing up Star’s 100 with a six.
Marais, a South African import, has shown the pedigree of playing schoolboy cricket against the likes of Neil Wagner, and is easily Star’s top run-scorer this season.
When he finally departed on 75, Star’s challenge was over, finishing 21 runs short with just four wickets down.
In Temuka, Zane Sanders top scored for Timaru with 42 and Josh Smallridge chipped in with 23 as they set Temuka 157 to win.
Nick McGuire was the best of the Temuka bowlers, finishing with figures of 3-30.
In response Temuka were always behind the run rate with a fighting 44 from Adrian Cunningham allowing them to get through to 122-7 off their 20.
The Timaru attack kept it tight throughout with Hayden Leonard (2-20) and Jason Stevenson (2-21) both bowling out.
In the weekend’s other match Waimate’s total of 114 proved too much for Roncalli/Celtic at Knottingly Park.
Nathan Sew Hoy top scored with 25 as the Roncalli/Celtic bowlers restricted Waimate’s hitters, none of the attack going for more than six runs an over.
Chasing down a gettable target the visitors folded. Glen Drake took 3-12 off his four overs as Roncalli/Celtic collapsed to 100 all out, no-one making it past 16 with the bat.
The next round of Twenty20 matches will be dead rubbers with Timaru and Celtic looking to find individual form before the final at Aorangi on February 13.