WHERE'S IT GONE?: Temuka batsman Les Humphris turns the ball to the onside during his match-winning innings of 52 against Celtic, on Saturday
Temuka ensured Celtic would return to the chasing pack in the South Canterbury senior one-day cricket competition on Saturday.
With the provincial representatives away for the second straight week, Celtic were again under-manned, and were never in the game, which Temuka won by six wickets, at Rockdale Rd.
The win, coupled with victories for Star and Waimate, means there is now a four-way tie at the top of the competition, with all four on 18 points, thanks to three wins apiece.
Star eased past Timaru’s meagre total of 133 to win by seven wickets, while Waimate did it almost as comfortably, against Roncalli College, chasing down 154 for the loss of four wickets.
Despite a depleted batting order, Celtic chose to bat first, and got away to a handy start, thanks to Ants de Joux and Neil de Joux.
They rode their luck early, as several edges found grass, and several plays-and-misses were induced by the Temuka opening bowlers.
The bowlers looked as though they would gain the upper hand but poor catching meant they had to wait until the score was 39 to capture their first wicket.
Once they got a taste, the wickets kept coming, and the run rate slowed down. Dylan Lees, Les Humphris, David Fisher and Tom McKnight all worked to squeeze the Celtic batsmen.
None of the middle-order made double figures, and with only 53 runs scored between overs 10 and 30, Temuka were on top.
Hamish Kleynack was the only batsman, after the openers, to look comfortable at the crease.
The No8 batsman struck three fours and a six on his way to 34 valuable runs.
The defending champions could muster only 147, but had it not been for six dropped catches and 29 extras, it could have been worse.
Fisher ended with two for 25, while Humphris and Shay Latta also grabbed a brace.
Fisher and Humphris then combined in a hearty opening stand to get the visitors off to a positive start in the run chase.
Fisher eventually fell for 28, but Humphris powered on, to record a match-defining half century, before he became the first of Ants de Joux’s three victims.
Chris Opie held the rest of the innings together, despite a late flurry of wickets, scoring 37.
Celtic were also guilty of dropping several catches, while the 18 wides they bowled made the Temuka win, with 13 overs remaining, even easier.
Stand-in Celtic captain Andy Scott said the total was always going to be difficult to defend.
“Les Humphris was pretty much the difference, he played a good knock and did not give us any chances.”
Stand-in Temuka captain Willie Stone said they knew the target was gettable.
“The bowlers all really stood up and our opening partnership set it up for us.”
Timaru’s batting problems this season continued, as they failed to build on the momentum from their win over Celtic last week, with a bumbling performance against Star.
Star made it five wins in a row, in all competitions, with a dominant bowling performance.
Todd Elliotte and Jeremy Lane each took three wickets for the home team as Timaru were rolled for 133.
Opener Josh Smallridge’s 31 and 27 from a returning Grant Brookland were the best Timaru could conjure up.
The volatile nature of the Mountainview High School wicket was evident early in the Star innings, as captain Phil McGregor was hit on the jaw from a rising delivery.
The injury required seven stitches and brought an abrupt end to his day.
His opening partner Simon Ward carried on though and made a gritty 29 not out.
Paul Arkinstall made a bright 43, as Star cruised to the target with eight overs to spare.
McGregor said it was good to have some momentum in the season.
He praised the efforts of his medium-pacers, and Simon Ward’s patient innings.
Timaru captain Hayden Butler said he was struggling to figure out why his team’s batting was so poor.
“We’re trying a few different things, we just need someone in the top four to get going.”
Waimate continued their revival with a comfortable win over Roncalli, thanks to the all-round efforts of Glen Drake.
Usually a menace with the bat, the teenager turned into trouble with the ball, taking four for 20, with his left-arm spin, in his first bowling spell this season.
He then added 31 with the bat, supporting Alan Reid who managed 33 not out, as Waimate cantered to Roncalli’s total of 154.
Harry Millar was a rare bright spot for Roncalli, making 37 not out, while Bruce Carlaw made 27, to establish the total.