Battle within a battle looms in Chatfield Cup

WORTH S SHOUT: Hutt District skipper Kieran Lennon appeals in their clash with University  on Saturday. Lennon was in top form  taking 3-29.
WORTH S SHOUT: Hutt District skipper Kieran Lennon appeals in their clash with University on Saturday. Lennon was in top form taking 3-29.

Business time is fast approaching in the two distinct competitions that have emerged in the Ewen Chatfield Cup.

At one end, Eastern Suburbs look a useful bet to contest the 50-over final, with Karori and Taita the teams most likely to join them in it.

But down the bottom of the table, there's a mad scramble of another kind.

Everyone's desperate to qualify for the top-six and contest the Pearce Cup-proper, in the two-day format, with most clubs still in with a shout, ahead of the final two one-day rounds.

Ninth-placed Hutt District remain one of those teams and kept themselves in contention with an impressive six-wicket win over University at Kelburn Park.

"We were due a win," Hutt batsman James Colson said.

"It was a very good win, actually, and the first time in a while that it's clicked properly and we've played as a team. We've been working pretty hard throughout the season but haven't quite got it right on a consistent basis, but we had a better mindset going into this game.

"We knew what sort of position we were in and it was sort of do or die if we wanted to get something out of the season."

Quick bowler Iain McPeake set the tone, trapping University's impressive opener Matt Lewis in front for nought and then nicking out Callum Geldart five runs later. By the time he'd had James Boyle also caught behind by Darren Cudby, McPeake had reduced the hosts to 22-3. .

"His first spell was brilliant. He bowled really well, so we had them three for nothing really," said Colson.

Tim Dineen (84) and Cam Hawkins (34) steadied things for the students and, for once, Hutt didn't drop their bundle.

"That was the good thing about Saturday for us," Colson said.

"We got into a bit of a slump, but we eventually came right."

Captain Kieran Lennon cleaned up University's tail, to give his team just 173 to chase on a wicket which Colson said was worth quite a few more.

Fraser Colson's unbeaten 83 and tidy contributions from everyone else, saw Hutt get home with 15.3 overs to spare.

Taita, meanwhile, were about to condemn Karori to their second loss in as many weeks.

Karori's 226 looked a pretty defendable total, but once Sam Dean and Sam Le Gros put on 145 for the first wicket, Taita were destined for victory.

Elsewhere, Easts outclassed Onslow by 172 runs and Johnsonville easily made 234-4 (in 36.1 overs) to beat Naenae Old Boys by six wickets.

Wainuiomata recorded their first win of the season, against Collegians, while Petone-Eastbourne were five-run winners over North City.

In yesterday's Tararua Shield match, Hutt Valley enjoyed a five-wicket victory over Wellington City at Kilbirnie Park. Wellington City were restricted to 209-9 batting first, of which the Valley made short work.

Contact Hamish Bidwell
Sports reporter

The Dominion Post