SOUTH OTAGO CRICKET CORRESPONDENT
The Kaitangata Kings have started the South Otago T20 competition on yet another positive note, beating the Owaka Bandits by five wickets at the Royal Landfill in Kaitangata.
Owaka elected to bat first and recorded a below par total of 124 for the loss of seven wickets from its 20 overs. The early loss of opener Francis Parker did not seem to affect Owaka much, as fellow opener Jeremy Gray set about his work, plundering 64 runs from just 27 balls in an innings that included five fours and five sixes.
A fantastic over from Kings captain Mark Shepherd dismissed Gray, caught on the boundary by William Casey, which was followed up next ball with an outrageous caught and bowled that saw Bandits skipper Quentin Gare head back to the pavilion.
Jethro Melville, on debut for Owaka, was joined at the crease by Matt Morahan and the two added 42 important runs for the sixth wicket.
Both batters ran well between the wickets and piled pressure on the Kings fielding unit.
Melville was dismissed for 13 towards the end of the innings, Morahan finished unbeaten on
29. Opening bowler Kobe Thomson returned impressive figures of three for 20 off his four overs. Captain Shepherd chimed in with two very important wickets and finished with two for 21 off his four.
In reply the Kings lost openers Jack Dent and Luca Thomcic with just 12 runs on the board.
Thomcic was first to depart after an outrageous one-handed grab at first slip by Regan Gillespie off the bowling of Morahan. Gare cleaned up Dent’s stumps shortly after.
This brought Casey and Shepherd to the crease. Both batters survived dropped catches early in their innings as they combined for a useful partnership of 47 before Casey was trapped in front by Parker.
Shepherd continued his work with some outstanding cover drives and drop kicks over the mid-wicket boundary. Shepherd was dismissed for 41 runs with the score at 77 for the loss of four which turned into 82 for five once Jason Young had been and gone.
Kings talisman Allan Thomson once again showed his fortitude as he steered his side to victory with an over to spare.
Thomson combined with son, Kobe, in a match winning 42-run partnership. Both showed cool heads as they took the singles that were on offer, but also struck boundaries when required.
Thomson senior finished unbeaten on 32. Morahan was the pick of the Owaka bowlers with 2-33 off four overs.
Kaitangata Kings 125/5 (Mark Shepherd 41, Allan Thomson 32*; Matt Morahan 2-33) beat Owaka Bandits 124/7 (Jeremy Gray 64, Matt Morahan 29*; Kobe Thomson 3-20)
The Valley Stingers produced their first win of the season with an enthralling eight-wicket win over the Clutha Comets at the Wasp Nest in Tuapeka Mouth.
After winning the toss for the first time this season, Stingers captain Lachie Johnston asked Clutha to bat first and they recorded 137 for the loss of eight wickets from their 20-over allocation.
A strong 56-run opening partnership between Michael Hayes and Kelan Smith set the platform for the innings before Smith was dismissed off the bowling of young superstar Alfie Omelvena-Flame, who took two more top order wickets in consecutive balls to bring his side back into the contest.
Some middle order resistance from Connor Smith (26*) ensured the total would be pushed past 100 as he lost regular partners at the other end.
Marc Phillips continued his hot run of form with the ball as he picked up three for 20 off his four overs. Omelvena-Flame recorded three for 22 off his four overs. Michael Hayes top-scored for Clutha with a well-struck 42.
In reply, Stingers captain Johnston promoted himself to opener this week and had the best seat in the house as fellow opener Morgan Culbertson smashed 19 runs off the first over of the innings. Culbertson continued on his merry way, bludgeoning 67 runs off just the 31 deliveries as he helped his side to victory with four overs remaining for the loss of just three wickets.
Culbertson hit nine fours and three sixes in his superb innings. Bevan McCall (26*) and Luis Smales (19) were the other major contributors.
Sam Mosley was the pick of the Comets bowlers with two for 31 off his four overs.
Valley Stingers 138/3 (Morgan Culbertson 67, Bevan McCall 26*; Sam Mosley 2-31) beat Clutha Comets 137/8 (Michael Hayes 42, Connor Smith 26*; Marc Phillips 3-20)