Tim Leonard was the toast of the Pleasant Point Cricket Club at the weekend.
The right handed opener scored an elegant 109 as his secured a morale boosting 54-run victory over Celtic in the final round of the South Canterbury club cricket one-day competition.
His 100 was the first of the season and the first one on the new ground in what was an incredibly entertaining spectacle.
More than 490 runs were scored, the most of the club season this year.
“I was pretty happy with how I went. There’s still plenty to work on but it was a good start.”
He said the drive of a semifinal spot next weekend was spurring him on.
“I wanted to get the boys to the semifinals. I was pretty tired by the end of it.”
There is a good vibe in the Pleasant Point club this season with all the players getting along, said Leonard, who enjoyed a profitable partnership with Tom Costley on Saturday.
“Tommy’s great to bat with … he was good to run with between the wickets.
“It was nice playing in a game where the scores were over 200 rather than teams just making 100. The pitch was really nice.”
Leonard’s hundred was his first at senior level and Point’s first since entering the senior competition last season.
Celtic won the toss and decided to put the hosts in.
Pleasant Point openers Adam Beck and Leonard tried to get the team off to a promising start.
Beck started well with an early four but top edged a short ball from Ben Watson and was well caught.
His brother Liam was next to the crease hitting five fours in his 28. He and Leonard put on 57 for the second wicket.
When Liam was dismissed Leonard, who had made his way into the 30s was joined by import Costley.
The pair batted superbly, running well between the wickets.
Their partnership was 121 before Leonard slipped over and was run out by Jeremy Liddy.
His innings was of the highest order, he gave no chances and punished the bowlers if they missed their length.
He hit 15 fours, two sixes and bought his hundred up in a unique way with a five, after an attempt at a run out went for four overthrows.
Leonard, who is in the Hawke Cup squad, pushed his case for selection in the next match with his innings.
Costley made 51 before being caught in the deep, while the rest of the Point batsmen struggled to get going as they made 267.
Dan Laming bowled superbly for Celtic.
Laming, still regarded by many in the region as the best senior cricketer, claimed 5-22.
He picked up an early wicket before bowling well at the death, to snare four more.
In reply, the green machine lost Liddy early, before Andy Scott and Watson put on a good partnership.
Watson made a quick fire 29, while Scott showed touches of class in his 53.
Jacob Naylor came in and scored 28, while Dan Laming was the Celtic star again making a superb 74.
He had been struggling with the bat but found form at the right time as they remained in touch with the asking rate during the chase.
Laming could be a real handful in next weekend’s final with a score of note now under his belt.
Pleasant Point held their own to win, with Laming the last man out.
Mark Otley was superb for Point with 3-18, while Geoff Macfarlane bagged 2-26 and Brad Tegelaars snared 2-51.
In Temuka, Sasindu Nanayakkara scored 60 up top to help Timaru secure victory at the Domain.
His 86-ball stay featured some cracking shots on both sides of the wicket.
Support came from Josh Smallridge (21), Caleb Rosanowski (22) and Ryan Hanifin (20).
They made it through to 185 with South African Warren Morgan snaring 3-31, spinners Glen Drake and Josh Rooney chipped in with two wickets each.
Someone forgot to tell Temuka they were chasing runs as they slumped to 25-8.
Timaru seam bowlers Dinesh de Silva and Sam Singh picked up four wickets each.
Temuka to their credit dug deep through Morgan (27), Josh Rooney (24) and Alan Reid (23).
The three of them added some some respectability to the Temuka score which finished at 104.
Next weekend sees Pleasant Point and Timaru face at Aorangi Oval in the semifinal, with the winner to battle Celtic the following day.