The Owaka Bandits produced a superb second-innings effort to beat the Kaitangata Kings by six wickets in their 40-over match in Owaka on Saturday.
Kai was surprisingly asked to bat after losing the toss and, from the start, proved it was going to be a tough day for the bowlers.
Kai’s openers put on 62 for the first wicket inside 12 overs before Blair Benington was run out after some good fielding by Raiden Pennicott.
This brought William Casey to the crease to join Orry Young. The pair constructed a solid foundation before drinks to take their side into the break at 107 for one.
After drinks, the two batters freed their arms. Both brought up half centuries and added 128 for the second wicket before Casey was dismissed for 59.
Young produced some sublime shots to find the boundary almost at will. Mark Shepherd gave himself licence to swing the willow and the two added 50 runs in no time at all before Young was caught and bowled just shy of his century.
Shepherd (44 not out) and Kairus Booth (17 not out) ended the innings with some lusty blows.
Orry Young’s 92 was the pick of the scores as Kai finished its 40 overs on 268 for the loss of three wickets.
Matt Morahan (one for 48) and Francis Parker (one for 66) took the wickets in atough day for the Owaka fielding unit.
Owaka knew it faced a huge challenge against the unbeaten Kings side and that it would need a strong start.
Step up Jeremy Gray and Joel White. The opening pair hit their straps from ball one and produced one of the better opening stands in recent seasons.
They put on 165 runs inside 24 overs. Gray, who has not had much time in the middle of late, showed his class, bringing up his third South Otago century just after the drinks break.
White was dismissed on 47 with Owaka still needing more than 100 runs with less than 15 overs remaining. Danny Simmonds arrived at the crease to partner Gray and the two scored freely, their running between the wickets a real highlight.
Gray was finally out for a fantastic 132 runs with Owaka needing 60 off the final six overs. Simmonds took control at one end, scoring a brisk half-century which included three consecutive sixes in one over to reduce the run rate significantly.
Kai claimed two quick wickets which brought Reece Pullar to the crease to join Simmonds and the two navigated their way to victory with five balls to spare.
Simmonds summed up the situation well and gave confidence to his batting partners.
Pullar’s running between the wickets was fantastic and he hit a crucial six in the penultimate over. Simmonds finished unbeaten on 56 .
Kai’s bowlers toiled hard, Kobe Thomson, William Casey, Mark Shepherd and Ethan Gilder taking a wicket each.
This loss, Kai’s first of the 40-over campaign, tightens things up at the top of the table. Kai is still in the lead with three teams not far behind.
The Kings have the bye next weekend. Owaka stays in third but moves closer to second-placed Clutha. The two face off next weekwith a potential home semifinal spot on the line.
Owaka Bandits 271/4 (Jeremy Gray 132, Danny Simmonds 56 not out; Ethan Gilder 1-9) beat Kaitangata Kings 268/3 (Orry Young 92, William Casey 59; Matt Morahan 1-48)
The Valley Stingers produced their first win of the 40-over campaign with a comprehensive five-wicket win over the Clutha Comets at Tuapeka Mouth.
Clutha was asked to bat and was rolled for just 94 runs inside 26 overs.
Valley strike bowler Ash Sharma had a day to remember, returning impressive figures of five for 18 off eight overs. Chris Moffitt took four wickets for 17 off six overs.
The only bright light of the innings was a 40-run partnership between Gordon Edwards and Kelan Smith. Smith ended with 37 and Edwards with 23 and they were the only Comets batters to reach double figures.
In reply, Valley did not have it all its own way as Clutha’s bowlers — Smith, in particular — produced some tidy overs.
Valley opening batter Daniel Cragg was the main destroyer for his side, finishing with 32 runs. Captain Lachie Johnston guided his side home with an unbeaten 25.
Smith finished with three for 27 off seven overs and Nick Manston took two for 24 off five.
Clutha is hanging on to second in the competition. It hosts the Owaka Bandits next week with the winner of that match taking outright second. Valley is still at the bottom of the table . It faces Waihola next week in a key match for both sides.
Valley Stingers 95/5 (Daniel Cragg 32, Lachie Johnston 25 not out; Kelan Smith 3-27) beat Clutha Comets 94 (Kelan Smith 37, Gordon Edwards 23; Ash Sharma 5-18).