Pressure on Karori after yet another loss
Wellington's top club players should keep their eye in with a spot of beach cricket over the summer holidays.
When they return they'll need to bring their A games as the premier one-day competition resumes with a decisive final round on January 12.
Eastern Suburbs confirmed themselves as top qualifiers for the Ewen Chatfield Cup final with a comfortable 61-run win against Taita on Saturday.
Karori are second despite slumping to their third straight loss, against Onslow, who are equal third with Taita going into the final round.
Karori must now beat Easts in the new year, otherwise the winner of the Taita-Onslow game will have a shot at some silverware.
Onslow captain Liam Chrisp led by example at Karori Park, picking up 2-22 in a miserly spell of medium pace bowling as the hosts were knocked over for 184.
Batting at four, Chrisp then struck an unbeaten 69 to guide his side to a two-wicket win.
"I've worked out I need to take on a bit more responsibility now," Chrisp said.
"In previous seasons I've thrown my wicket away at crucial times but I've just worked out I need to bat through the innings most of the time now.
"Especially on a good batting track at Karori, you've got to make the most of it. We'll have a couple of weeks off, not think about it, have some fun and come back and prepare for Taita."
A former New Zealand under-19 international, Chrisp is now 28 and has long been one of the province's best club contributors.
But after missing out on Wellington A selection this season, he believes "my time has passed".
"There's plenty of youngsters coming through so I'm not disappointed at all," he said.
A perennial mid-table team, Chrisp said Onslow were now brimming with confidence under the guidance of manager Gavin Larsen and coach Rhys Morgan.
Larsen's son, Corey, scored 44 on Saturday in an important 106-run partnership with Chrisp.
"He's been working hard on his batting," Chrisp said.
"He was hitting it very cleanly yesterday which is good and he'll only get better, no doubt about that. The good thing about his bowling is he can swing the ball when it's 30 or 40 overs old."
All-rounder Niranjan Naguleswaran was Easts' star turn, hitting 58 in a 107-run opening stand with Ben Orton (59) and then claiming 4-29 with his off-spinners.
Outside of the top four, Collegians had a 21-run victory over Upper Hutt as fringe Firebird Ili Tugaga struck 59 batting at No 8 to gain his side a competitive total.
University skipper James Boyle (60 not out and 4-20) led the students to a four-wicket win over North City, while Johnsonville and Hutt District had tight victories over Wainuiomata and Petone-Eastbourne respectively.
The Dominion Post