Celtic and Star ensured they would be in the box seat to meet in the Tweedy Cup cricket final after contrasting wins in the fourth round of the senior two-day cricket competition on Saturday.
Star were meant to have an easier win, after their bowlers had left them requiring just 74 runs in the second innings against Roncalli College on day two.
Chasing the small total proved a challenge, with Star surviving some nervous moments to reach the target seven wickets down.
Celtic were always in control of their game against Timaru at Ashbury Park 4, but a spectacular second innings collapse saw Timaru skittled for just 48 in pursuit of 267 for victory.
Waimate claimed first innings points against Temuka at Temuka Oval, but 108 from Nick Horsley ensured the home team would earn a draw.
Star’s win was earned through the gritty batting of captain Phil McGregor. His 36 runs were essentially the difference in the teams.
Roncalli’s Tahir Afridi bowled right through from one end and picked up four second innings scalps to finish with 12 for the match.
However, a front-foot no-ball from the left-arm seamer may have been the turning point.
McGregor appeared to be trapped in front, leg before wicket by Afridi, midway through his innings, however the appeal was snuffed out when the umpire signalled a no-ball.
Alexander McKenzie made 15 in support of McGregor, but when he and his captain perished with five runs still left, the nerves set in once more.
Afridi ended with four for 28, to finish with figures of 12 for 64 for the match.
McGregor said his team’s struggles could be attributed to both the pitch and their mind-sets with the bat.
“We weren’t playing the right shots to the right deliveries.
“The plan was to see Afridi off and put pressure on the other guys at the other end.
“Depending on the other matches, the win should give us a bit of a buffer [for a finals spot].”
After starting the day at 79 for three in pursuit of Celtic’s first innings of 251 for six declared, Timaru could not find a big score amongst their batsmen.
Despite contributions from Dhananjaya Murari (37), Josh Dick (31) and Zane Sanders (25), Timaru were dismissed for 165, a deficit of 86.
Celtic lost opening bowler Grant Watt to a badly broken thumb when he tried to take an outfield catch early in the day’s play.
He was taken to hospital and did not return.
Celtic set about creating a match-winning lead.
Going at more than six runs an over, they built a handy 230-run lead by tea thanks to James Laming (36) and Craig Davies (34).
They batted on for a brief period after tea, to push the lead past 260.
Glenn Matthews (24 not out) hit Josh Dick for three consecutive sixes to allow the declaration.
Matthews then terrorised Timaru with the ball. Three wickets in his four-over spell was the main reason Timaru slumped to five wickets down for nine runs.
Dick showed his potential in making 30 when everyone else failed for the home team. They could only manage 48 all out in 16 overs.
The two teams meet again in Friday’s Twenty20 final at Aorangi Oval.
Davies said Matthews was getting back to his best form, even if he had lost his express pace.
“He always has good line and length and I think half the time, the batsmen talk themselves out of it.
“He’s not demonish quick anymore. Maybe he was the first season he was here but he has slowed down a bit.”
Timaru captain Hayden Butler said they conceded too many runs and there was no application from his batsmen.
He said he was disappointed with how his spinners performed in favourable conditions.
“Basically Celtic out-fielded us – dropping 10 catches in the first innings is never going to help.”
Temuka’s batsmen fired against an under-strength Waimate bowling attack.
Horsley received vital support from Dillon Lees (51) in the second innings, as they made 223 for six, in reply to Waimate’s 161 all out.
Waimate’s cause was not helped by front-line bowler Alan Reid splitting the webbing in his hand, which meant he took no further part in the match after just five overs on Saturday.
The match ended with Waimate 116 for five in their second innings.