GI hits road bump in quest for title

Green Island has suffered a setback in its quest for a sixth national title.

The champion Dunedin club recorded its first loss at the national club championships in Auckland yesterday.

The Swamp Rats have won or shared the title five times and would dearly love to clinch another banner. It would be the perfect sign-off for retiring players Ant Harris and Dion Lobb.

But the team strayed off course with a tense 10-run loss to Wellington's Eastern Suburbs on Cornwall Park No 1, despite an impressive bowling display and a gutsy knock from veteran all-rounder Mark Joyce.

Left-arm pace bowler Blair Soper continued his strong form, taking three for 37. And promising legspinner Jack Mockford's haul of four for 28 was valuable.

Eastern was all out for 171. It appeared like a simple chase for Green Island but it slumped to 40 for four.

Joyce and Otago all-rounder Christi Viljoen (45) turned the innings around with a crucial partnership of 87.

But Viljoen's departure opened the door for Eastern. Joyce went shortly after for 57 from 130 balls. It was tremendous buckle-down innings on a tough surface.

But the tail had too much to do and folded.

On the No3 ground St Albans posted 290 and held on to beat defending champions Napier Technical Old Boys by 27 runs.

It is the only unbeaten side and will play Green Island today in a vital match for the Otago side.

In the other game, Parnell scored 307 and dismissed Greerton for 175.


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