The semifinals have been confirmed after the final round› robin matches of the South Otago Cricket 40 over competition were played at the weekend.
The Valley Stingers remained on top of the table with a 33›run win over the Waihola Swans at the Crab Grounds in Milton. Valley elected to bat first and were in all sorts of trouble early. A spicy opening spell of bowling from Ant Gorton had Valley reduced to 10 for the loss of three after seven overs.
Valley was 36 for the loss of four in the 16th over when captain Lachie Johnston came to the crease in his 100th match for his side.
Johnston isnever one to back away from a challenge and soon started to turn the match in his side’s favour. Johnston batted extremely well with the lower order, facing the majority of the deliveries and guiding the tail through towards the end of the innings. Johnston brought up his first century of the season in fantastic fashion and was run out on the last ball of the innings for
116. Valley recorded a defendable 183 which was a great effort considering its poor start. Johnston was of course top scorer for his side, Bevan McCall was next best with 26. Gorton’s opening spell of bowling was tidy, and he returned figures of three for 15 off six overs.
In reply, the Swans started in a promising fashion with openers Jared Cunningham and Dylan Bungard adding 55 for the first wicket which set Waihola up perfectly. When Bungard was dismissed for 48 the Swans were on track at 103 for the loss of three with 14 overs remaining. An extremely tight eight›over spell from Luis Smales gave Valley confidence. This spell, coupled with two fantastic four› over spells from Marc Phillips piled the pressure on the Waihola batters who just couldn’t chase the target score in time. Waihola finished up on 150 for the loss of nine. Smales finished with three for 17 off eight overs. Phillips was equally as impressive with three for 12 off eight overs. Bungard was Waihola’s highest scorer. Cunningham and Ryan Clark shared 21 runs each.
Valley has secured the Round Robin Shield for the season and will host the Clutha Comets next weekend at the Wasp Nest. Waihola is out of the finals picture and the players can put their feet up and reflect on what was a key re›building season for them.
Score: Valley Stingers 183 (Lachie Johnston 116, Bevan McCall 26; Ant Gorton three for 15) beat Waihola Swans 150/9 (Dylan Bungard 48, Ryan Clark 21; Marc Phillips three for 12)
Kai Kings defend Cup
The Kai Kings defended the Challenge Cup successfully for the last time this season.
The Kings defeated the Clutha Comets by six wickets at the Royal Landfill in Kaitangata.
Clutha elected to bat first and recorded 141 for the loss ofnine from their 40 overs. There were plenty of decent cameos throughout the innings, but no› one could push on to a meaningful total. Comets skipper Caleb Carson top scored at the start of the innings with 25 and there were some other useful knocks by Michael Hayes
(19), Nick Parata (14) and Daniel Sutherland with an unorthodox 16 not out towards the end of the innings. The biggest cheer of the innings went to Steven Van Asperen, who at the tender age of 50 hit his first ever six and what a shot it was! William Casey and Jesse Maher bowled well in tandem for Kai. The pair took three wickets each with Casey returning figures of three for 26. Kings veteran bowler Jason continued his outstanding form with the ball for no reward. Young bowled eight overs and recorded figures of no wicket for eight runs.
In reply the Kings chased the total down in the 34th over for the loss of just five wickets. Clutha looked on top early, dismissing opener Blair Benington and the dangerous William Casey with the score at seven for two. Allan Thomson was the glue in the Kai innings as he batted through most of it and recorded his first half century of the season. Thomson was dismissed for 59 with the Kings needing just 10 to win. Pat McKenna (28*) and Jason Young (1*) saw them home comfortably. The Comets bowled well at the top of the innings but began to tire through the middle, bowling 37 extras which is never helpful when defending a below par total. Kelan Smith was the pick of the Comets bowlers with three for 21 off eight overs. Daniel Sutherland’s one for 20 off six was also impressive.
Both sides will feature in the semifinals next weekend with Clutha heading to Valley to take on the Stingers. Kai travels to Owaka to face the second placed Bandits.
Score: Kai Kings 142/5 (Allan Thomson 59, Pat McKenna 28*; Kelan Smith three for 21) beat Clutha Comets 141/9 (Caleb Carson 25, Michael Hayes 19; William Casey three for 26)