Article by Stu Piddington - Timaru Herald
The two undefeated senior cricket teams are set to fight out top spot in the 45-over competition on Saturday.
Pleasant Point and Temuka will face off for early bragging rights after Celtic and Star both sustained their second consecutive losses.
Defending champions Celtic are not used to dropping two in a row but were outclassed at the Pleasant Point Domain.
For Pleasant Point Adam Beck notched up his second half-century in a row, hitting 51 off 48 balls.
Brother Liam Beck also got a well compiled 39, which got Point through to 98-3, before wickets started to tumble.
Dan Laming was the best of the Celtic bowlers grabbing 3-19, off his nine overs, including the Beck brothers.
Chasing 152 Celtic struggled to be all out for 144.
Apart from Jake Naylor’s 45 off 40 balls at No.3 there was not a lot of resistance from the older hands.
A determined Will Blackstock faced 66 balls for his 18 not out, adding 46 runs for the eighth wicket with Andrew Holden to keep Celtic in the hunt.
The last three wickets however fell for five runs ending Celtic’s hope.
At Ashbury Park Timaru batted first and got through to 156-9 off their 45 overs against Star.
Timaru were struggling early at 18-3 until Josh Smallridge and Pat Wickramasinghe came together for a 70 run partnership.
Smallridge top scored with 45 while new all rounder Wickramasinghe chipped in with 34.
No.7 Brad Leonard also added a valuable 33 and No.9 Scott Johnston 18.
Their eighth wicket stand of 50 gave Timaru something to bowl at and end was a match winning contribution.
For Star veteran pace man Craig Hinton was easily the best of the bowlers grabbing 4-29 off his maximum nine overs.
Star started the chase brightly with openers Phil McGregor and George Morgan getting through to 41 for the first wicket.
Morgan top scored with 31 but after that things went pear-shaped quickly.
Star lost the rest of their wickets for 78 runs to fall 37 short, with only Josh Mehrtens, 16, and No.9 Blair Gunn ,11, showing any real resistance.
Extras ended up the was the second top score with 26 runs.
For Timaru Englishman Harry Greenhaigh, who opened the bowling, and Wickramasinghe both took three wickets each.