SOUTH OTAGO CRICKET CORRESPONDENT
The Kaitangata Kings have finished the first round of 40-over cricket unbeaten with a close fought nine-run win over the Waihola Swans at the Crab Grounds in Milton.
Batting first, the Kings lost openers Blair Benington and Pat McKenna with 27 on the board. Two wickets in the same Craig Gordon over piled on more pressure, leaving them in a perilous position at 71 for the loss of four wickets with captain Mark Shepherd and the experienced Allan Thomson at the crease.
Once Shepherd was removed by Jared Cunningham it left Thomson and a rather large Kings tail to try to salvage a defendable total.
Thomson batted superbly with the lower order, and was unbeaten at the end of the innings on 43.
Some lower order hitting from Clutha Comets ring-ins Mike Hayes (11) and Heath Faddeson
(14) propelled Kai to 164 off its 40 overs.
Craig Gordon led the Waihola bowling attack once again and was virtually unplayable at times. He finished with impressive figures of four for 19 off eight overs.
In reply the Swans were dismissed nine runs short with an over to spare as the Kings were clinical at the death.
A 31-run opening stand from Dylan Bungard and Greg Webber set a decent enough platform for the home side to build on before Webber was bowled by Jason Young for 10.
Bungard and Rowan Craw continued the run scoring to give Waihola confidence of chasing the total down.
When both batters were dismissed the Swans were in trouble at 93 for the loss of four.
Enter man of the moment Allan Thomson. In his first overs for Kai this season, Thomson tore through the lower order to give his side a huge chance of defending its total.
Thomson, paired with skipper Mark Shepherd, saw the Kings home in fine fashion.
Swans all-rounder Brad Williams (21) threatened to turn the tide in Waihola’s favour, but once Williams was dismissed by Shepherd, the Kings took their chance well and recorded their fourth win on the bounce.
Allan Thomson took man of the match figures of four for 28 off six overs. Craw’s 27 and Bungard’s 26 were the top totals for Waihola.
Kai uncharacteristically bowled 37 extras which helped Waihola, who also scuppered the chance of a bonus point for Kings.
The 40-over competition takes a break for Christmas now with the T20 competition starting up this week. Kai is at home on Friday night against the Owaka Bandits. Waihola was due to play the defending champion Milton King Crabs but Milton has withdrawn from the T20.
The Swans will now enjoy a week off.
Kaitangata Kings 164 (Allan Thomson 43*, William Casey 29; Craig Gordon 4-16) beat Waihola Swans 156 (Rowan Craw 27, Dylan Bungard 26; Allan Thomson 4-28)
The Owaka Bandits have picked up their first win of the season with a commanding nine-wicket win over the Valley Stingers at the Wasp Nest in Tuapeka Mouth.
The match was delayed an hour with Valley citing player danger with moisture on the bowling run ups and unfavourable overhead conditions.
The match was reduced to 32 overs each with Owaka to bowl first.
The Owaka bowling unit was fired up and its fielding effort had positive vibes and energy. They reduced Valley to 66 all out in the 29th over. The moisture on the bowling run ups didn’t seem to affect the Owaka openers who had Valley five down for just 25 runs. Some miserly bowling in the middle stages restricted Valley’s scoring shots and Owaka’s contagious positivity was outstanding.
A rear guard innings from Marc Phillips showed dedication and desire.
Phillips faced 61 deliveries for his 14 runs but never gave his wicket away cheaply.
Opening bat Morgan Culbertson top scored with a brisk 16, the only other Stingers’ batter to reach double figures.
Joel White was the pick of the Owaka bowlers with three for 16 off five overs.
Francis Parker’s 2-8 off seven overs and Quentin Gare’s 2-10 off seven were also very tidy.
The Bandits required only nine overs to chase Valley’s total. Opening batters Jeremy Gray and Francis Parker added 43 for the first wicket before Parker was bowled by Marc Phillips for 26 off 24 balls.
Gray was joined by Joel White in a supporting roll as Gray finished the match hitting 13 runs off a Luis Smales over to reach the target well inside bonus point territory. Gray finished unbeaten on 41 off 28 balls. White was unbeaten on 1.
Phillips was easily the pick of the Valley bowlers with 1 for 38 off five overs.
Owaka moves up to third place on the table with this win. A slow start, but it will take confidence it can still play to its high standards.
Valley is yet to register a win and sit at the foot of the table with just five points.
Valley will host the Clutha Comets in its first T20 round and will look to make the shorter format its own.
Owaka Bandits 72/1 (Jeremy Gray 41*, Francis Parker 26; Marc Phillips 1-38) beat Valley Stingers 66 (Morgan Culbertson 16, Marc Phillips 14; Joel White 3-16)