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The Owaka Bandits defended the South Otago Cricket Challenge Cup with a 55-run win against the Valley Stingers in Owaka on Saturday.
The Bandits are now clear at the top of the table after three rounds of the 40-over format.
Owaka opening batsmen Jeremy Gray and Joel White (21) made a cautious start.
The Bandits attempted to lift the tempo after the drinks break but were met with some very miserly bowling from the Stingers.
The spin partnership between Luis Smales and Lachie Johnston took the wind out of the Owaka middle order which capitulated once more to leave the home side in trouble at 101 for five.
The tail showed some resolve and Bandits posted 138.
Gray top-scored with 35 while Luis Smales took three for 18 off six for the Stingers.
The Stingers could manage just 83 in reply, though.
James Maclean nabbed five for for 23 from eight overs and Francis Parker claimed four for six from seven overs.
Lachie Johnston top-scored for Valley with 13. Dave McCall was next best with 12.
The Waihola Swans beat the Clutha Comets by six wickets in Balclutha to jump into second place.
Clutha was dismissed for a modest tally of 112.
Waihola’s Greg Webber was the spearhead, taking four wickets for 17 off six overs and being virtually unplayable at times.
Jared Cunningham, on his Swans debut, also bowled well with three for 13 off four overs.
Opening batsman Sam Mosley was the top scorer for the home side with 19.
Darren Baucke (15), Caleb Carson (12) and Daniel Sutherland (12) were the only other Comets batsmen to reach double figures.
The Swans took just 19 overs to chase down the total.
Opening batsman Phil Scott was the shining light. He carried his bat for an unbeaten knock of 48 which included three fours and three sixes.
Clutha had Waihola in trouble at 12 for three after six overs but Scott was joined by Jared Cunningham (36) who played his part to perfection.
The two batsmen added 85 runs for the fourth wicket and broke the back of the chase.
The Kai Kings dispatched the Lawrence Lions by six wickets in Kaitangata.
The under-strength Lions elected to bat but were bowled out for just 58 in the 18th over.
Christin Blackie top-scored for the Lions with 20 and was the only player to reach double figures.
Kings captain Mark Shepherd shone with the ball for his side.
Shepherd returned figures of five for 15 off 4.1 overs to record his first five-for of the season.
Jason Young (two for nine) and Jesse Maher (two for none) were also among the wickets.
The Kings shuffled their batting order around and chased the total down in the 11th over.
Opening batsman Jack Dent carried his bat and finished on 41 not out.
- Francis Parker