Gray, Melville overcome weather to take Owaka to victory

The Owaka Bandits are the South Otago premier competition round robin winners.

Owaka beat the Milton King Crabs by nine wickets in the only game that was played at the weekend due to poor weather and moisture.

Milton were asked to bat on a very slippery surface and managed to score a respectable 162 all out in the final over of the innings.

A couple of early wickets courtesy of Josh Huddleston put Owaka ahead before a fired-up Dylan Greer added 52, sharing in handy partnerships with Corey Bradley (16) and Dan Samson (19).

Greer ran singles well and dispatched the bad ball to the boundary with ease.

Jacob Jenkins (14) batted well with the tail to push the home side through to a defendable total.

Extras (29) were an issue on a less-than-ideal day for bowling for the Owaka side. Most of the bowlers chimed in with wickets, while Francis Parker took three for 43 off his eight overs.

In reply, Milton got off to a good start with in-form opening batter Joel White dismissed on the last ball of the first over by Dan Samson.

However, this was the last ounce of happiness the Milton bowling attack felt as fellow opener Jeremy Gray and first drop Jethro Melville combined to take Owaka to victory.

Once the pair had navigated some tricky conditions and got their eye in on a slippery pitch, they played extremely well.

Gray was first to reach his half-century before drinks as Owaka headed into the interval at 111 for one.

It was Melville’s turn after drinks as he brought up his first premier half-century in fine style with a four through cover.

The rain came and both sides opted to have a breather with Owaka needing just 17 runs for victory.

After the interlude, Gray and Melville finished the job, gifting Owaka the Round Robin Shield and the Burt Pringle Trophy.

Gray finished unbeaten on 77 and Melville unbeaten on 60.

Owaka will host the Clutha Comets in a semifinal at the Outlaw Oval. The other semifinal will be back at Milton with the second-placed Waihola Swans facing off against the Kaitangata Kings.

— Francis Parker