Palmerston have all but wrapped up the two-day club cricket competition after a day of tight finishes at Manawaroa Park.
Marist welcomed back four Manawatu reps for the second day of their match against the red caps on Saturday but folded from a strong position to lose by two wickets.
A quality spell of bowling by Russell Swindells and powerful striking by Robert Sheary got Palmerston home for their third outright win of the season.
Marist had resumed with a lead of 61. They were one-down without a ball being bowled due to the unavailability of opener Ben Mably and proceeded to collapse on a slightly sluggish pitch.
At one stage Swindells had figures of four for one from two overs as he and Benn Dixon, three for 35, ran through the middle and lower order.
A 32-run partnership for the final wicket by brothers Zane and Tom Burn then raised Marist spirits and set the red caps 180 to win.
Palmerston started sluggishly and were 16 for two off 12 overs when Sheary opened the shoulders.
He hit 67 in quick time, including 28 off a single over, to turn the momentum. Palmerston stuttered and lost wickets at regular intervals after Sheary departed, but a solid 46 from Carlos Jensen sealed the win, and likely the competition.
Palmerston North Boys' High needed an outright to have any chance of catching the red caps but came up 60 runs short in a drawn match with Old Boys.
Resuming 110 behind with ten wickets remaining, Old Boys needed their returning reps to stand up and they did in style.
Matt Trent hit 40 before a massive partnership between Manawatu's Brynn Cleaver and Robbie Yule allowed Old Boys to declare 190 in front with 43 overs remaining.
Cleaver, hit a stylish 118 while Yule was left unbeaten on 121 not out.
In-form Manawatu medium pacer Bryn Templeman then ran through Boys' High's top order as the schoolboys found themselves defending to avoid an outright victory.
They made it through to 130-7 at stumps thanks to a 50 by Hayden Spencer with Templeman bagging a five-wicket haul with the final delivery of the match.
United can still catch Palmerston after a strong all-round performance toppled Freyberg by an innings.
With United starting the day leading by 27 on the first innings with seven wickets remaining, it was always going to be uphill battle for one-day champs Freyberg who are still without a win in the two-day competition.
Jason McGregor, who resumed on 73 not out, fell five short of a century and United left the door ajar at 238 for seven.
But Jackson Gattsche frustrated Freyberg to finish on 53 not out and help the team to a declaration on 307 for seven.
Dave Fulton got through ten tidy over to finish with two for 30.
Freyberg needed runs from Manawatu and Central District representatives Bevan Small and Dane Cleaver but both could only manage 25.
Batting at seven, Fulton (70 not out) watched on at the other end as Manawatu's Phil McCredy (4-37) and Gattsche (3-30) cleaned up Freyberg's tail nine runs short of making United bat again and with four overs remaining in the day.
Marist 144 and 140 (Arana Noema-Barnett 27, Zane Burn 26; Russell Swindells 4-23, Benn Dixon 3-35) lost to Palmerston 105 and 180-8 (Robert Sheary 67, Carlos Jensen 46; Sam Hartley 3-26, Navin Patel 3-62) by two wickets. Old Boys 105 and 303-5 decl (Robbie Yule 121 no, Brynn Cleaver 118) drew with Palmerston North Boys' High 215-7 decl and 130-7 (Hayden Spencer 57; Bryn Templeman 5-29). Freyberg 126 and 172 (Dave Fulton 70*; Phil McCredy 4-37, Jackson Gattsche 3-30, Cam Harris 3-46) lost to United 307-7 decl (Jason McGregor 95, Jackson Gattsche 53*; Dave Fulton 2-30, Malcolm Trow 2-48) by an innings and nine runs. --
- Manawatu Standard
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