In the feature club game at Aorangi Oval in the latest round of the Daily Freightways One Day Competition, Waimate managed to chase down the target set by Star with two balls to spare and retain their position at the top of the table despite losing two overs because of a slow over rate. In Geraldine, Celtic also won to remain equal first while a sometimes heated match between Timaru and Temuka saw Timaru win to move into second equal place.
Waimate won the toss and asked Star to bat and after an early breakthrough, the Star batsmen with the backbone provided by Captain Phil McGregor with a patient 50 began to build solid partnerships. Paul Arkinstall scored 48 before holing out trying to loft the ball into the wind as they added 66 runs for the second wicket. Chris Anders helped add another 61 in the next partnership, before the innings faltered somewhat. At 180-8 the score was looking a bit light on the Aorangi pitch, but Julian Blanchard then played a cameo innings of 25 including two huge sixes to help set Waimate a target of 210 for victory.
In reply Waimate was soon in trouble at 20-3 with Chris Hyde making the most of his chances in senior ranks as he bowled through to take 2-26.
However, Craig Booth with 30 and Hayden Matthews put their heads down as they got things back on track adding 65 runs. Rafferty Fox gained a quick but largely unproductive promotion after Jason Sewhoy went missing in the toilet, and with the score on 100 Waimate still needed a further 110 runs off 90 balls.
Matthews and Sewhoy added 45 in good time before Matthews was out for 46 trying to feed Sewhoy the strike. Matt Devlin joined Sewhoy and continued in the same role as Star set the field far and wide to try and restrict Waimate to less than the 9 an over required.
In the end it wasn’t the fielders who needed to worry, rather the neighbouring houses as Sewhoy launched his assault. Blanchard took a great catch only to realize he was over the boundary and that was the closest to a chance Sewhoy gave on his way to 72 not out off only 50 balls to see Waimate to victory.
Weakened Timaru and Temuka teams also fought out an interesting tussle at Ashbury Park where all the Temuka batsmen scored runs as they also set Timaru 210 to win. Leading the way was Adrian Cunningham, but just as he neared his 50 and the team mates were discussing what vintage ‘red’ he would get out this time, it seemed as though he was thinking the same as he appeared to change mode and then had the misfortune to be out lbw for 49. It probably hurt more that it was to part-time bowler Robbie Rankin who also picked up the other top scorer Richard Opie for 40.
In reply, and no doubt buoyed on by his bowling, Rankin and Gerald Piddock added 55 for the first wicket before a mini collapse had Timaru struggling at 68-4. Temuka’s nemesis and former player Tim Mackle then resurrected the chase on his way to 59 as he continued a fine season with the bat, and then Kane Whiteley added an unbeaten 34 as tailenders Chris Leonard and Avon Proctor hung around to see Timaru get home nine wickets down with 3 overs to spare.
Unfortunately (perhaps because of the cold southerly?), this match was not played in the best of spirit, and what should have been an intriguing and absorbing match for spectators and players alike turned into a farcical and often verbal indictment of the fine old game of cricket.
Despite a century to English professional Matt Barnes, Geraldine were unable to capitalize on a strong batting effort as Celtic chased down the 206 runs needed for victory at the Geraldine Domain.
This means that with three rounds still to play, final positions are still very much up in the air with five teams still within a win of each other, and with players still on representative duty next weekend; no results can be easily predicted.