Celtic and Waimate warmed up for their one-day final encounter with contrasting performances, in the last round of limited-overs club cricket.
Waimate was undone by an unpredictable pitch on Saturday as well as some impressive bowling from Daniel Dorgan, as Roncalli ended their limited-overs campaign with a four-wicket win.
Star used their hefty hitting power to ease to a seven-wicket win over Timaru, while Celtic assured everyone they were favourites for the final, with a five-wicket win over Temuka.
Dorgan took full toll of an Ashbury Park 6 pitch which offered uneven bounce, to tear the top off Waimate’s top-order batting.
Both teams were frustrated with the nature of the pitch.
Deliveries on a good length were popping with menace and then some kept low.
Dorgan soon had the one-day finalists three down with just four runs on the board.
Nathan Sew Hoy was deliberate in his stroke play, as wickets continued to tumble.
He decided to go hard at the ball, to try to negate the pitch.
Sew Hoy struck a brisk 38, and shared in a 40-run partnership with the emerging Theo Davidson, who made 16.
When the pair departed, Roncalli were soon back on top.
The school side had two hat-trick opportunities with both Ben Watson and Grant Watt bagging two wickets in two balls.
Waimate hoped to get to triple figures but fell two runs short, bundled out for 98 in the 25th over.
Dorgan fittingly took the last wicket to finish with a five-wicket bag.
Roncalli were 11 for three in reply, thanks to two early strikes from Alan Reid.
However, the chance of victory was dashed by a 67-run fourth-wicket stand between Jacob Naylor and Harry Millar.
Millar made batting look comfortable, as he struck boundaries when needed.
Naylor played the anchor role.
When Millar fell for 47 and Naylor for 31, Roncalli were still in a winning position.
Nathan Sew Hoy swapped the wicket-keeping gloves to bowl gentle medium-pace.
His looping first delivery, managed to lure Robbie Mulvena out of his crease, as he thought of where to hit it for six, but all he managed to do was miss it and get stumped in comical fashion.
The four-wicket win was further cause to celebrate for Roncalli who have shown they can compete in in their debut season.
Waimate captain Jason Sew Hoy said it was difficult to get any momentum with the bat.
He said the pitch was not up to senior cricket standards.
Star found their groove with the bat, albeit late in the season, as they crushed Timaru, at Ashbury Park 4.
Timaru’s innings of 161 was a par score for the competition, but it was not enough.
Their second Indian import Dan Murari delivered on his promise, in making 58, with his usual unconventional fashion.
Jeremy Lane and Craig Hinton each took three wickets for Star.
Star’s innings was book-ended by two dynamic innings.
Alex McKenzie who has been out of form all season, scored 56, opening the innings.
When he was removed by Timaru captain Hayden Butler, who was on his way to a three-wicket-haul, Todd Elliotte came out and showed he was in a hurry to finish things.
He hit 48 not out from the number five position.
The innings included nine fours and a six.
Paul Arkinstall finished on a sedate 19 not out, but held up an end, as his side got home with 17 overs to spare.
Star captain Phil McGregor said the pitch played well, and he knew the target was gettable.
“The pitch played pretty well, it was certainly a 200 [run] plus pitch, which I think we showed.”
He said poor efforts with the bat had cost his team the chance to be a part of the one-day finale, in two weeks.
Celtic swept aside Temuka, at the Temuka Oval after the home side made 173 on the back of a half century from Hayden Broker.
Broker and Kevin Teahen put up a middle-order fightback, after Temuka were wobbling at 52 for three.
Sam Carlaw and Craig Davies were dynamic with their spin-bowling, claiming seven wickets for 56 runs between them.