Saints from Marlborough maintained their position at the top of the Intercity senior men's competition after a close fought 6-5 win over Nelson's Stoke Eagles at A and P Park, in Blenheim, on Saturday.
Saints player/coach Darren Aldridge, while happy with the result, wasn't so pleased about the way his team went about it, claiming fielding errors made their task much more difficult than it should have been.
The Schollum brothers, Ryan and Kurt, were ultimately responsible for the key plays which got Saints home. Ryan whacked a brilliant in-the-park home run to right field then younger brother Kurt nailed it on the pitching mound, striking out six Eagles batters in a row to wrap up victory.
Saints flew out of the blocks with three runs in their first turn at bat but the visitors stormed back in their first bat to score four runs.
Kyle Marfell continued his brilliant recent form at the South Island Jefferies Cup and national Fast-Pitch championships by smashing an automatic home run. Barney Parnell made a couple of hits and youngsters Tyler Aldridge and Denom Wisdom picked up valuable walks at crucial times.
Central were out-batted 5-10 by Nelson visitors Waimea Eagles at A and P Park.
Like the Saints match, Central started impressively scoring two runs in the first innings but Waimea replied with four runs and from then on dominated.
Graham and Nick De Boo, Nathan Lovell and Brad Clark all picked up hits but unfortunately Central were unable to capitalise on getting all their runners on base home, three left stranded on base in the fifth.
Player/coach Graham De Boo said his team fielded well but the impressive pitching of Canadian import Brandon Peck proved the difference, Central not being able to get enough bat on ball to stay with their rivals.
Wairau scored an 8-0 win over Nelson Pirates and lost 1-3 to Titans from Nelson.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?