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The Clutha Comets continued their good form with a 13-run win over the Owaka Bandits in muggy conditions in Balclutha on Saturday.
Clutha elected to bat but the top three batsmen were back in the pavilion inside four overs, with only 10 runs on the board.
Owaka bowled tightly and was on top of the game, but after drinks, the Comets’ lower order produced some fantastic batting.
Nick Manston and Morgan Lindsay shared a key partnership, swinging hard and hitting much-needed boundaries. Manston was dismissed for 41 and Lindsay soon after, for 30. Clutha’s captain Steve van Asperen and Rhiane Smith shared a 50-run partnership for the final wicket, which fell in the 35th over, with Smith left stranded on 41.
The Comets made a very defendable 202. Colin Sparey (three for 35) and Francis Parker (three for 37) were the top wicket takers for Owaka.
Owaka’s openers Jeremy Gray and Josh Huddleston punished the bowlers. Huddleston smashed 52 runs off just 23 balls, before being dismissed with the score at 88 for one. Spinner Nick Manston was then handed the ball early on and bowled a variety of deceiving deliveries. He tore through the top order, tied up the middle order and bowled eight overs on the trot, to finish with five wickets for 27.
Owaka club legend Steve Clarke looked to have won the game for the Bandits with some nuggety batting but a fiery three overs from Rhiane Smith scuttled the Owaka run chase. He mopped up the tail with 13 runs still in the bank and finished with three for 14 off four.
The Kai Kings scored a 42-run win over the Valley Stingers in Kaitangata. Moist conditions prompted the captains to agree on a 25-over game.
The Kings managed a decent total of 142 all out on the final ball of the innings.
Top order batsmen Greg Webber and Pat McKenna combined for a 47-run partnership, Webber top-scoring with 40 and McKenna next best with 30. Stingers bowler Marc Phillips was in top form against his former team, with figures of three for 14 off five overs.
The Stingers failed to create enough partnerships and were bowled out for 100 in the 20th over. Bevan McCall top-scored with 24 and Morgan Culbertson was next best with 22. Webber continued his good day, picking up three wickets for 13 off three overs and Lilly Paterson chimed in with two for 5 off two overs.
The Waihola Swans retained the Challenge Cup with a four-wicket win over the Lawrence Lions in Milton. The Lions batted first and could make only 87, dismissed in the 21st over.
Spinner Kellan Crowie opened the bowling for the Swans and took an impressive four for 23 off seven overs. Braden Adams took three for 25 off five and captain Dylan Bungard once again claimed a wicket, with a cast on his arm.
The Swans struggled early. Crowie was dismissed first ball and two other batsmen soon after. It took some experienced batting from Peter Grant (40 on debut) and 21 extras to get Waihola over the line with four wickets remaining. Mitch Pryde was the best bowler for the Lions, with two for 14 off three overs.
- Francis Parker