Kai Kings tame Lawrence Lions to claim 40-over crown

Rejoicing their 74 run win over the Lawrence Lions in the final of the South Otago 40 over...
Rejoicing their 74 run win over the Lawrence Lions in the final of the South Otago 40 over championship on Saturday were the Kaitangata Kings from (back left) Kobe Thomson, Orry Young, Mark Shepherd, William Casey, Pat McKenna, Brad Storer. (front left) Roger Pennell, Jack Dent, Jason Young, Lilly Paterson, Blair Benington, Allan Thomson (12th man). PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
The Kai Kings are the South Otago 40-over champions. They defeated the Lawrence Lions by 74 runs in front of a healthy home crowd in Kaitangata on Saturday.

The home side won the toss and elected to bat first. A very solid opening stand between Blair Benington and Orry Young gave Kai a very solid platform of 74 after 14 overs. Both were dismissed within an over of each other as Lawrence fought its way back into the contest.

At drinks the Kings were slightly ahead with 94 runs for the loss of two wickets. Straight after drinks Lawrence found its groove with the ball. Spinners Ryan Banks and Jason Horsman bowled extremely well in tandem to fire through the Kings middle order to reduce the home side to 118 for the loss of seven wickets.

Kai No 3 William Casey survived the middle order devastation and played a key roll for the remainder of the innings. Casey timed his innings nicely — he was cautious to begin with but batted extremely well with the tail and provided some much-needed runs towards the end.

Kai ended its 40 overs on 179 for the loss of nine. Casey top-scored with an unbeaten 49. Opener Benington was next best with 46. Banks was the picks of the Lawrence bowlers, with four for 36 off eight overs.

In reply the Lions could not have had a worse start. They lost their opening three wickets with only 10 runs on the board, inside four overs.

A niggly opening spell from Kings bowler Kobe Thomson got rid of Banks and dangerman Sam Wyber in consecutive deliveries to start the innings off with a bang. George Franklin looked to get his eye in early and played some very nice cricket shots.

He was losing partners at the other end in quick fashion, however. Kings skipper Mark Shepherd came into the bowling attack and dismissed Franklin, Sam Young and Taine Wilson in quick-fire fashion to leave the Lions tail exposed with only 53 on the board. Young took two more scalps to leave Lawrence’s final chances hanging by a thread.

The Lions’ last two remaining batsmen Christian Blackie and Lachie Kennedy, who was batting with a cast on his hand, shared a 45-run partnership in no time at all and some of the sixes they hit were massive. The two took particular liking to the bowling of Roger Pennell, who went for 34 off two overs.

The two battlers were left with too much work to do, however, and Kings wonder woman Lilly Paterson took the last scalp and the win for the home side.

It took slightly longer than anyone expected towards the end, but Lawrence’s 105 was hard fought and good to watch. Franklin was the top scorer with 32. Tail-ender Blackie was next best with 31. Shepherd returned the best figures for Kai with three for 18 off four overs.

 - Francis Parker 

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