SOUTH OTAGO CRICKET CORRESPONDENT
The Clutha Comets, led by skipper Caleb Carson, taught the Owaka Bandits a harsh lesson in the opening round of the South Otago T20 competition in Balclutha on Saturday.
Clutha elected to bowl and almost had instant success, but two dropped catches in the opening two overs provided the home side with early headaches.
Owaka opening batters Jeremy Gray and Joel White put the chances behind them and combined for an opening stand of 42 runs before White was dismissed off the bowling of Daniel Sutherland for 13.
Owaka talisman Gray continued to be a thorn in the Comets’ side with some strong batting.
Gray was helped along by Gordon Edwards (27) and the two looked to be mounting a sizable partnership before Gray was caught on 44.
Owaka’s middle order did not offer much of a fight and the tail failed to wag. Owaka batted out their 20 overs but could scrape together only 113 for eight.
The wickets were shared around by the Comets bowlers — Kelan Smith, Connor Smith and Nick Manston took two wickets each.
In reply, the Comets took 13 overs to chase down the meagre total Owaka had set, largely thanks to an unbeaten 74 runs by Carson.
He looked in imperious form as he belted three fours and six sixes to take the match away from the travelling Owaka side.
He lost two batting partners early in the piece before forming the match-winning partnership with Daniel Sutherland who played his part to perfection.
Sutherland was more than happy to give Carson the strike and watch him work, managing one lusty blow towards the end of the innings to finish unbeaten on 13.
White and Hayden Sheppard took a wicket each for Owaka who will be licking their wounds after a below-par start to the season by their standards.
The match between the Valley Stingers and Kai Kings was abandoned and will be played at a later date.
The Milton King Crabs and the Waihola Swans played on Sunday.