Comets reverse form slump to retain cup

The Clutha Comets  defied logic and defended the Challenge Cup against the Valley Stingers at the Cosmic Bullring in Balclutha.

The Comets’ 70-run win is their first  of the season after going through the whole T20 competition without a victory.

The Comets batted first and made a brilliant 193 for six off their 40 overs.

After losing captain Chris Faddes for no score, fellow opener Mike Edwards and Caleb Carson frustrated the Stingers bowlers. After 20 overs, the Comets were  38  for one. Carson and Edwards departed but Jason Gerken scored a quick 24 to change the

dynamic in the Clutha batting line-up. Sam Mosley  belted an unbeaten 68 and  shared important partnerships with Kelan Smith (10), Connor Smith (7) and Alton Gray (23 not out).  His knock  included six fours and two sixes. Scott Bixley took three wickets on debut for the Stingers.  Tony Omelvena and John Steel took the other wickets.

In reply, the Stingers were bowled out for 123 in the 27th over. Comets opening bowler Connor Smith ripped through the  top order with relative ease.  He finished with the impressive figures of six for 19 off six overs. The Valley top five could muster only  11 runs between them. Smith dismissed them all. Stingers captain Lachie Johnston tried his  best to salvage  the situation with a powerfully struck 70,  but  his side just ran out of wickets on the back of a  disciplined Comets performance led by Smith. Nick Manston and Alton Gray  took two wickets each in their debuts for the Clutha side.

The Waihola Swans  avenged their T20 final loss to the Owaka Bandits by beating the home side by 13 runs at Swamp Hen Park in Owaka. Waihola batted first and made 148, all out in the final over of the innings.

Swans openers Jordie Bungard and Shannon Young negotiated their way through the  first few overs. Owaka took quick wickets through the middle stages but some tail-end hitting from Craig Gordon (10 not out) and James McClean (11) took the visitors through to a defendable total. Tony Miller was the best of the Bandits bowlers with three for 33 off eight.

In reply the Bandits fell 13 runs short, bowled out in the 36th over. Opener  Jeremy Gray was again the main  contributor for the home side with 67,  including three fours and five sixes.  The wickets were shared around by the Swans bowlers.   James McClean did not take a wicket but returned outstanding figures of none for 13 off his eight overs.

The Kai Kings beat the Lawrence Lions by 129 runs  at the Lions Den in Lawrence. The Kings batted first and scored 178 for eight off 40 overs. Captain Mark Shepherd top-scored with 61. Lower-order batsman Orry Young was next best with  43 not out. Andrew James was the leading wicket-taker for the Lions with three for 31 off eight.

In reply, the Lions were skittled for just 49 runs, bowled out in the 21st over.   Opening bowler Jason Young  was impressive, taking three for seven off six overs. Ethan Lyon also took three wickets. 

- Francis Parker

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