Champs Kai Kings beat Bandits

Right on the money . . . Kai Kings batsman Blair Benington cracks a corker during their first match of the season against the Owaka Bandits at Kaitangata on Saturday. PHOTOS: EVELYN THORN


Defending 40-over champions the Kai Kings have beaten the Owaka Bandits by 42 runs in the opening match of the South Otago cricket 40-over competition at the Royal Landfill in Kaitangata. The home side also successfully defended the coveted Challenge Cup at the first time of asking.

Kai won the toss and opted to bat first. They lost two early wickets before the experienced duo of skipper Mark Shepherd and Blair Benington steadied the ship, taking Kai through to 47 without the loss of a further wicket.

Bandits vice-captain Francis Parker removed both batters in consecutive overs before drinks to give his side the advantage.

A match-defining sixth wicket partnership of 46 between Kobe and Allan Thomson pushed Kai past the 100 mark before Kobe was given out LBW. The Kings were dismissed for 139. In reply the Bandits were reduced to 33 for the loss of three wickets after a fantastic opening spell of bowling from Kings veteran Jason Young, who took all three of the opening wickets.

Jeremy Gray and Francis Parker looked to have things under control before Gray was caught on the boundary off the bowling of Mark Shepherd.

Parker continued to cause issues for the Kings, hitting five fours and four sixes before being dismissed on 49.

With the score at 95 for six, the Bandits proceeded to lose the final four wickets for just two runs as Kai tore through the tail for an easy bonus point victory.

• Kai Kings 139 (Allan Thomson 31*, Mark Shepherd 20; Quentin Gare 4-16) beat Owaka Bandits 97 (Francis Parker 49, Jeremy Gray 13; Jason Young 4-30)

Starting out hot . . . Owaka Bandits bowler Matthew Morahan sends a fiery ball overlooked by a
curious Kai Kings player Mark Shepherd during their first match of the season in the South Otago
premier cricket in Kaitangata last Saturday.

Clutha Comets v Valley Stingers

The Clutha Comets have beaten the Valley Stingers by 11 runs in their match played at the Cosmic Bullring in Balclutha. Batting first, the Comets were dismissed for 152 in the 37th over. Clutha was in trouble early as Valley took four early wickets to leave them reeling at 24 for four. Daniel Sutherland and Nick Manston batted well together towards the end of the innings to push Clutha towards a defendable total. Both batters scored 29 runs with Manston being the not out batter at the end. Valley’s bowlers were tight for the most part with Marc Phillips returning the best figures of three for 20 off six overs.

In reply, the Stingers chances fell away as the rain began to fall. Regular wickets saw Valley chase the game with none of its batters showing much backbone apart from Luis Smales, who was the shining star in a rather dull effort from last year’s finalists. Smales batted through the innings before being dismissed at the end for 34 runs as Valley was bowled out for 141.

• Clutha Comets 152 (Kelan Smith 31, Nick Manston 29*; Marc Phillips 3-20) beat Valley Stingers 141 (Luis Smales 34, Lachie Johnston 9; Daniel Sutherland 4-14)