Despite the cancellation of all lower grades, Senior cricket got under way on what turned out to be a pleasant sunny afternoon, and with umpires Geoff Talbot, Graham Begg, John Threlkeld and Bevan Guthrie officiating, all matches were played in good spirit, especially after Bevan had to forsake his umpiring duties and scored an unbeaten 13 for Geraldine!

Celtic’s Craig Davies all round form soon put paid to Star’s chances after he claimed 4 wickets and followed that up with a patient fifty. Temuka took the honours against Timaru after new captain Ritchie Preston led the way with an unbeaten fifty and team mate Rory Lorimer with a scintillating 60 off only 29 balls and bereft of any slogs helped them to 196-6, easily the highest score by any team in the opening round. In the third match Waimate’s trip to Geraldine was also well rewarded after chasing down the 155 required with 6 wickets still in hand.

Star won the toss and decided to bat first, a common tactic when playing Celtic at “The Rock”. However Phil McGregor was soon ruing his decision after being bowled for 1. Chris Anders followed soon after, before opener Paul Arkinstall found a partner who would hang around as he and Andrew McRae added 51 for the third wicket before McRae was out. Tim Butler also hung around without scoring before losing his wicket followed almost immediately by Arkinstall for 42 leaving Star in big trouble at 69-5.

Although at times the ball didn’t come on, this is quite usual for pitches at this time of year and Star were guilty of getting themselves out with second top score being extras and Todd Elliotte the only other batsman to reach double figures.

For Celtic Davies’ off-spinners took 4 wickets for only 7 runs from his 6 overs and new opening bowler Glenn Matthews was equally as miserly taking 1-7 from seven overs.

Set 118 to win, Ryan De Joux batted with his normal brash style before being bowled for 18 when the score was 20. However after Dan Laming and Andy Scott followed almost immediately without scoring, Star were right back in the match, but when Andrew McRae dropped a sharp chance off Davies at backward point, their revival waned and the Celtic batsmen settled in as Matt Mealings continued his form from last season to finish 25 not out, but more importantly added 78 runs with Davies before Davies was out for 57. A slight glimmer of hope for Star when James Laming also made a duck was soon extinguished by Luke Taylor who hit two big sixes and a four off Elliotte to get Celtic safely over the line.

Jeremy Lane was the pick of the Star bowlers with 2-19 and generally made the batsmen play at most deliveries, but in the end his side’s batting had fallen well short of setting a defendable target.

At Ashbury the Timaru v Temuka game was shifted onto the artificial, but this didn’t stop the ball swinging or seaming and a lot of injudicious cut shots were played and missed as the ball came back in regularly. Temuka batted first and an opening stand of 34 got things under way. Simon Attridge and Preston added a further 37 and a couple of small partnerships ensued before Rory Lorimer joined Preston at the crease and proceeded to take the Timaru attack apart in an innings which included 3 sixes. When he was out a further 94 runs had been added to the total and with Preston taking 40 overs to bring up his half century, the impact of Lorimer’s innings is evident. Temuka finished with 196-6 and Timaru had a long battle ahead.

Unfortunately for Timaru they struggled to lay a platform and were in deep trouble at 22-4 before Jacob Birch with 47 and Grant Brookland 27 helped bring some respectability to the scoreboard. The loss of their wickets soon showed up a long tail as the last 5 wickets fell for only 14 runs, with Chris Opie taking 3 wickets in his first over after unexpectedly being thrown the ball. Dillon Lees took 3 wickets earlier when he knocked the top off, while Kevin Teahen was his usual tidy self taking 1-7 from 6 overs and Temuka were the victors by 81 runs.

In Geraldine, Waimate’s new skipper, Jason Sew Hoy, won the toss and elected to field, a quickly vindicated decision after both openers were out without scoring. At 19-3 Matt Barnes and Guy Metcalf (43) settled in to a good partnership adding 78 with Barnes eventually scoring 51 before both became victims of schoolboy Glenn Drake who ended up with 3 wickets on his senior debut. Geraldine eventually posted 155-7.

Waimate’s reply started slowly too as both openers were gone with 28 on the board before Nathan Sew Hoy with 54 was joined by Murray Prattley (44) in a 96 run partnership in good time that saw the visitors move very close to victory. Phil Chapman (3-12) who was bowling particularly well for Geraldine tried to slow proceedings, but with the other bowlers unable to match him the pairing of Jason Sew Hoy and Nathan Sheppard, both 14 not out, easily saw Waimate through to victory by six wickets.

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