SOUTH OTAGO CRICKET CORRESPONDENT
Clutha Comets rediscovered their form in the South Otago 40-over season on Saturday, beating Kaitangata Kings by 39 runs in Kaitangata to book a semifinal and seize the Challenge Cup.
Clutha won the toss and elected to bat, piling on runs to finish at 239 for six.
Gordon Edwards and Kelan Smith’s near 100-run partnership knocked the fizz from Kai’s fielding.
Smith was finally dismissed for a well-struck 64 before Kai fought back, Central Otago import Luc Thomson taking three wickets.
Edwards was finally dismissed for 86 while Daniel Sutherland wielded willow to finish unbeaten on 48.
Thomson’s three for 35 and Jason Young’s two for 35 were Kai’s best figures.
Kai started promisingly despite losing opener Orry Young early.
The Blair Benington-William Casey partnership took the side to 103 for two after 22 overs before Benington was dismissed for 49 off Sam Mosley.
Top-scorer Casey continued despite Clutha piling on the pressure and helped Kai reach 167 for three before he was run out for 54.
Smith took three for 44 with the ball and Nick Manston chipped in with two for 30.
Cameos from Luc Thomson (26) and Brady Carmichael (13no) could not save Kai from its fourth loss on the bounce.
It was bowled out on the final ball for 200, relegating it to second, overtaken by Owaka Bandits.
The result secures the Comets’ spot in the semis in two weeks.
The Valley Stingers miss out this season.
Next week’s final round decides the semifinal matchups. Clutha has a five point bye.
Kai will host Waihola with the winner locking in a home semifinal.
Clutha Comets 239/6 (Gordon Edwards 86, Kelan Smith 64; Luc Thomson 3-35) beat Kaitangata Kings 200 (William Casey 54, Blair Benington 49; Kelan Smith 3-44)
The Owaka Bandits moved into first position with a three-wicket win over Waihola Swans in Milton.
Batting first, the Swans failed to make the most of the power play and early stages.
Hayden Sheppard reduced Waihola to 56 for six, backed up by fellow bowlers Matt Morahan and Quentin Gare.
At the break, the Swans were 91 for six with Ryan Clark and Mitch Burford settled at the crease.
The pair added 82 for the seventh wicket to bring Clark’s maiden premier half-century.
He finished unbeaten on 56.
Burford was dismissed in the final over for 24 as the Swans recorded a reasonable 146 for seven. Rowan Craw (14) also hit double digits.
Hayden Sheppard returned career-best figures of four for 25 off eight overs for Owaka.
Bandits openers Jeremy Gray and Joel White the added 62 for the first wicket inside nine overs before Gray was dismissed by in-form Ashley Manson, who also removed Danny Simmonds and Quentin Gare in one over to leave Owaka at 69 for three.
Joel White and Francis Parker steadied the ship before White went for 36 and Parker for 21, leaving Owaka needing 40 runs for victory.
Fantastic bowling from Swan’s Emily Hickey removed Raiden Pennicott and Reece Pullar in consecutive overs to give Waihola a chance, but Owaka secured victory thanks to Matt Morahan (10no) and Hayden Sheppard (10no), who chased the total down with seven overs remaining.
Gray’s 38 and White’s 36 were the Bandits’ best scores.
Waihola skipper Jared Cunningham and Manson bowled 16 tight overs, Manson finishing with three for 30.
The result and Kai’s loss means Owaka jumps into first on the table by two points with one round-robin match remaining.
The Bandits host Valley next week, needing a win to lock up the shield for 2022-23.
Owaka Bandits 147/7 (Jeremy Gray 38, Joel White 36; Ashley Manson 3-30) beat Waihola Swans 146/7 (Ryan Clark 56*, Mitch Burford 24; Hayden Sheppard 4-25)