However, the second semi final was a much tighter affair in the local derby between Geraldine and Temuka. Played on a good pitch at the Geraldine Oval, Temuka won the toss and decided to field first and therefore know the target they were chasing. In the end this was a winning tactic, but not without some speed bumps along the way.
Geraldine’s innings started steadily with opener George Harper (24) and first drop Matt Barnes (28) getting starts, but they struggled to build partnerships as the fourth wicket fell with only 54 on the board. Barnes and Phil Lill added 37 for the fifth wicket, but at this stage the only person celebrating was Michael Geddis, the Temuka medium pacer who had four wickets and was in search of a ‘bag’.
At 94-6 it looked like being all over quickly, but the young members of the Geraldine team had other ideas as U17 rep players Matthew Walker and Harry Millar came together in a good partnership. Walker drove the ball strongly on the way to his team’s top score of 37 and Millar was beginning to score freely when he was well caught on the mid wicket boundary by a diving Nathan McNicol for 28. Add a cameo to the finish by Phil ‘Marto’ Chapman with two exquisite cover drives and Geraldine was able to post a competitive total of 186.
In reply Temuka were soon in trouble at 27-3 with Captain Ritchie Preston among those back in the pavilion, but then the in-form Johnny Geddis settled in and with Rory Lorimer finding form again they put Temuka back into the match with an 88 run partnership. Geddis made 50 while the big hitting Lorimer (a NZ Armed Forces rep) made 72 and Temuka were looking untroubled at 155-5 with only 32 more runs required.
Again it was a member of the young brigade who changed the match tempo as Geraldine’s Michael King grabbed 3 wickets in the Temuka middle order, and the loss of two more wickets had both teams (and captains) on edge before Dillon Lees and Kevin Teahen saw Temuka safely through to victory with 2 wickets and 7 overs to spare.
Spectators and players shook their heads in disbelief after Star won the toss and asked Celtic to bat first on their home track at Rockdale Rd, but obviously they hoped for something in the pitch and the opportunity to put Celtic under some early pressure. Unfortunately, missed chances and poor catching did not help the cause, and the always aggressive start that Ryan De Joux gives Celtic soon had his team well in front of the game. De Joux was out in the 14th over for 57 and by now Celtic had 92 on the board and scoring at more than six an over.
The departure of De Joux, followed soon after by Liddy only seemed to strengthen the resolve of Craig Davies as he marched toward his century. He gave a chance in the nineties, but no one would begrudge him a fine century, and he was the sixth wicket to fall with the score now 226. Matt Mealings kept the runs coming with an unbeaten 56, but Celtic would have almost been disappointed after their start to only score 278-9 from their 45 overs and for Star their was little to celebrate other than Todd Elliotte’s three wickets and Chris Ander’s three stumpings.
Any disappointment for Celtic quickly dissipated as Star’s batting lineup crumbled to be 22-4 before Elliotte (24) and Phil McGregor (11) added some respectability with a 35 run partnership. This revival was short-lived, and although Anders (20) and Mark Evans (17) also added 35 runs for the seventh wicket the only team enjoying the cold conditions was Celtic as Sam Carlaw wrapped up proceedings taking the last four wickets for only 20 runs, and Star were all out for 127, a poor effort in reflection and definitely something for their new players to build on.
The final between Celtic and Temuka does not take place until February 28th, but it will be interesting especially if the Temuka team can bring all their guns to town during their 125th Jubilee season.
C Davies 110
R Lorimer 72
R De Joux 57
M Mealings 56*
J Geddis 50