Murray's century puts Palmerston to sword
Manawatu opener Luke Murray held the batting order together for Freyberg with a century to give them a three-wicket win over Palmerston at Fitzherbert Park on Saturday.
Murray made 125 in Freyberg's 218 for seven chasing Palmerston's 217 for eight, while the next best score for Freyberg was Dave Fulton with only 11.
While the Freyberg batsmen didn't score many runs, they hung in with Murray as he kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Murray thought the conditions had been good and he had just picked off the bad balls.
"I thought it was a pretty good pitch," he said. "A bit low and slow, it wasn't moving or anything."
Alex Petty was Palmerston's best bowler, taking three for 39 from his 10, but missing four of their usual bowlers, Palmerston was unable to defend the small total.
Earlier in Palmerston's turn at bat, Rob Sheary made 90, but the rest of the team didn't make enough runs to put together a defendable total, as only Brett Wyeth (38) gave Sheary any support. Jonny Lash, Grayson Harwood and Malcolm Trow all took two wickets each to make sure Palmerston didn't put any big partnerships together.
A magnificent bowling display by Marist's English import Chris Miller saw United suffer a huge collapse as they lost by 138 runs at Manawaroa Park.
In a surprise move, off-spinner Miller opened the bowling which took the United batsmen by surprise and had them all out for 104 chasing Marist's 240.
Miller bowled tightly and finished with five wickets for only six runs from his nine overs as the United batsmen kept throwing their wickets away.
United were in a decent position at 70 for three, but Miller's second spell engineered the collapse as they were all out for 104, losing their last seven wickets for 32 runs.
Only Robbie James managed to stick around with 41, the next-best was Sam Vanderkolk with 14.
Earlier, Marist batted first and were going along well with Adam Milne, playing mainly as a batsman after his ankle injury, at the crease.
He top-scored with 93 and was supported by Dave Meiring, who made 39.
Sonpreet Singh took five for 36 and United had Marist out for 240 in the 50th over for what seemed like a gettable score at the time.
The win now gives Marist a 10-point lead at the top of the table.
Another poor batting display let Palmerston North Boys' High School down as they lost by by 138 runs to Old Boys at Fitzherbert Park. Old Boys batted first and posted a decent total of 254 for seven on a good bat-first wicket.
Brynn Cleaver's good form continued as he made 62 and Josh Jaques made a half century as well with 50.
Villi Tosi contributed with 42 and Tim Richards, batting down the order, was unbeaten on 31.
Arana Noema-Barnett (2-23) and Navin Patel (2-33) took two wickets each as Old Boys cruised along at a good clip.
In Boys' High's innings, they batted meekly and could muster only 138 from 37 overs.
Bryce Grant, who no longer has the wicket-keeping duties with Brynn Cleaver in the team, picked up four wickets for 26, including two leg-side stumpings.
Richards and Robbie Laird chipped in with two wickets each to have the schoolboys reeling at 80 for nine before coach Mike Taiuru and Anu Ganugapati, who top scored with 21, put on a good partnership to add some respectability to the score.
United 104 (Robbie James 41; Chris Miller 5-6, Sam Hartley 2-23) lost to Marist 240 (Adam Milne 93, Dave Meiring 39; Sonpreet Singh 5-36) by 136 runs.
PNBHS 116 (Bryce Grant 4-26) lost to Old Boys 254-7 (Brynn Cleaver 62, Josh Jaques 50, Villi Tosi 42, Tim Richards 31*) by 138 runs.
Freyberg 218-7 (Luke Murray 125; Alex Petty 3-39) beat Palmerston 217-8 (Rob Sheary 90, Brett Wyeth 38) by three wickets.
Points: Marist 40, United 30, Old Boys 30, Palmerston 25, Freyberg 25, PNBHS 15.