The recent rainfall certainly on paper seemed to affect the pitches as bowlers dominated in most matches with the exception being Knottingley Park where Geraldine’s first innings of 168-8 declared has already been passed by Waimate for the loss of only three wickets.

Star are ‘officially’ the home team after their match was transferred to Rockdale Rd but after a disastrous first innings they are already batting a second time and still need 140 runs to make Celtic bat again, while the Temuka vs Timaru match at Ashbury Park is also a low scoring affair with Timaru making 117 and Temuka after at one stage being 23-5 recovering to score 96.

With teams struggling for numbers in some matches, it was good to see some young up and coming players make their mark with South Canterbury U15 player Glenn Drake making an unbeaten 64 for Waimate, although he has had to retire as he is unavailable next week as he is playing in an U16 tournament in Brisbane. Matthew Walker also scored an unbeaten 50 in the same match for Geraldine and Temuka’s Nathan McNicol, the youngest regular senior cricketer in the competition picked up his first senior wicket, that of wily old campaigner Chris Leonard.

Contrasting these ‘young guns’, five Club Presidents were also on senior duty today, and while for many it was not unusual, I am sure Colin Cameron from Timaru will be telling those younger players about his not out for some time yet.

Temuka asked Timaru to bat first and Kevin Teahen soon put the pressure on Timaru as he took 2-30 from his 17 overs and was well supported by Les Humphris with 2-11 and Michael Geddis with 2-22. For Star the only real resistance came from Zane Sanders with 31 and they were always going to struggle to defend such a low score.

However Jordan Morrow had other ideas as he ripped through the Temuka top order on his way to 4-37. A middle order rally by Willie Stone (24) and Richard Opie (16) helped correct the ledger but Hayden Leonard with 4-28 dashed any hopes of a first innings.

The match is still anyone’s game though as Timaru are already 39-4 in their second innings after Michael Geddistook 3-10 and Timaru will be hoping that returning players for the second day can help them to a respectable total.

The Star and Celtic match began as a top of the table clash, but on Day 1 there was only one team in it after Celtic asked Star to bat. Dan Laming followed up his decision by bowling a fuller length than is his norm and was rewarded with two bowled victims. Willie Scott also enjoyed the conditions and chance to bowl as he took 3-19, while James Laming made the most of his two overs to remove the last three Star batsmen, helping to dismiss them for 70 in only the 31st over. It could have been even worse if extras hadn’t top-scored.

Although the pitch may have been more difficult than usual, most batsmen would be looking at themselves for the way they got out, often by not getting far enough forward, or over the ball, and some good fielding including a couple of great catches at short cover by Glenn Matthews made certain it wasn’t Star’s day.

Celtic’s response was solid if not spectacular, but you need to take everything going against Celtic. Craig Davies was dropped in the second over and went on to 38, and the run out of Jeremy Liddy for 15 only allowed Matt Mealings to find some form again before being out for 54, but by now the score was well ahead, and a powerful unbeaten 52 by Glen Matthews which included 4 huge sixes allowed Celtic to score 219 from their 50 overs. Mark Evans was the most successful Star bowler with 2-18, but Star will need to bat all day next week to save the game but have already lost an opener in the nine overs before stumps, and will be expecting big things from skipper Phil McGregor and maybe even night watchman Craig Hinton next week.

Geraldine batted first against Waimate and were also struggling at 50-5 but a 59 run partnership between Walker and Tom McKnight with 35 not out helped them to a respectable 167 when the compulsory declaration came. Matt Sew Hoy (3-61) and Alan Reid (2-53) bowled 38 of the 50 overs between them for Waimate in good workouts.

In reply Nathan Sew Hoy again started well before being out for 44, and Findlay Keen (28) helped Drake add 34 before Jason Sew Hoy joined Drake to post an undefeated 75 run partnership and at stumps Waimate were 187-3 and likely to try and add some quick runs in the 10 overs remaining next week to put further pressure on the Geraldine 2nd innings as they look for an outright victory.

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