Two captain’s knocks punctuated an absorbing day of senior two-day cricket between Timaru and Roncalli/Celtic at Ashbury Park 4 on Saturday.
Both teams’ first innings looked in early trouble before Timaru captain Josh Smallridge (65) and stand-in Roncalli/Celtic skipper James Ellwood (47) came to the rescue.
Timaru recovered from 72 for four to reach 241 for eight from their 60 overs.
In reply, Roncalli/Celtic were 14 for two but recovered to be 178 for four at stumps with 13 overs remaining until its compulsory declaration.
With both teams needing to push for an outright result, it sets up an interesting concluding day on Saturday. In other matches, Celtic and Temuka are in control of their respective matches.
Celtic amassed 254 for nine declared on the back of three half centuries from their top-order and have Star struggling at 132 for eight in reply at Celtic Sports Grounds.
Temuka skittled Waimate for just 82 in their first innings at Knottingley Park on the back of five for 30 from left-arm quick Nathan McNicol.
The Magpies then declared at 174 for nine from 45 overs.
Waimate are 89 for four in their second innings, still three runs away from making Temuka bat again.
Roncalli/Celtic did well to pick up four early wickets against Timaru.
They also removed the dangerous Prabodha Arthavidu without scoring.
Only opener Ben Fraser, with 32, offered any real resistance, with all his runs coming in boundaries.
Smallridge’s innings was much needed, but when he departed it was left to Nick Galwey (36 not out) and Sam Wilson (41 not out) to steer Timaru to a respectable first innings total.
The pair added an unbroken 65 runs for the ninth wicket.
Will Watts was the pick of the bowlers, with his spinners earning figures of two for 37 from 18 overs.
Both Roncalli openers were out with the score on 14.
Ellwood played a controlled innings to keep his team in the hunt until he perished to a soft shot.
Adam Beck came and went for nine, but Watts kept the innings momentum with his team.
His unbeaten 69, which included 15 fours, was his highest senior score.
He combined well with Michael Lees (27 not out) to add an unbroken 85 runs for the fifth wicket before stumps were called.
Half centuries to Dan Laming (77), Andy Scott (68) and Nick Cahill (52 not out) helped Celtic to a commanding position against Star.
The home team’s 254 came despite four wickets each from Star’s opening bowlers Craig Hinton and Jeremy Lane.
Hinton took four for 68 from 19 overs, while Lane, playing through the pain of a broken finger, took four for 111 from 21 overs.
Only opener Phil McGregor mustered any resistance for the visitors with 47, while Danny Campbell added 27.
The spin of Sam Carlaw proved difficult to play as he finished with three for 18 from 10 overs as Star still trailed by 122 runs with two wickets remaining at stumps.
Waimate’s batsmen wilted early against Temuka.
After winning the toss and batting the hosts reached 39 without loss before losing all 10 wickets for just 43 runs.
Temuka compiled 174 for nine thanks to contributions from McNicol 35, Vaughan Tarrant (33 not out) and Rory Lorimer 31.
Murray Prattley minimised the damage for Waimate by taking four crucial wickets.
Waimate will have to rely on the middle and lower order to set a total after they lost four second innings wickets while wiping off the deficit which they still tail by three runs at stumps.