Rain forces draw on second day

A Marlborough Emerging Players XI had to settle for a draw against their Canterbury Country counterparts when persistent rain saw their match abandoned on its second and final day at Horton Park yesterday.

The home side made 272 all out batting first on Sunday, the Neal brothers Sean (78) and Landon (62) leading the way with half-centuries.

Just 10 overs were able to be played yesterday and when the match was officially called off about 2pm Country were 160-7. Opening bowlers Ben Blackman (4-39) and Nick Weaver (3-34) took all seven wickets to fall.

Marlborough were 47-2 with Fraser McIntosh (8) and Tom Argyle (4) gone early on Sunday, but a 70-run stand between the Neal brothers got things back on track before Sean's 110-ball innings, which included 14 boundaries, was eventually brought to an end by Josh Watson.

With Sean's departure, Landon then took over to steer Marlborough past 150 in a 34-run partnership with Matthew Stretch.

But the loss of four quick wickets put Country back on top and when the younger Neal's 144-ball stay, which included seven fours and one six, was ended by Nick Jenkins the home side were in danger of succumbing for under 200 at 176-7.

However, the tail wagged and an unbeaten 46 to No 8 Richard Marshall and 35 from Rohan Prasad ensured their side posted a respectable total. Renwick club player Marshall hit six fours and one maximum during his 71-ball innings, while Valley spinner Prasad managed three fours and two sixes.

Country's reply was in trouble early as Blackman and Weaver had three of the top four batsmen back in the hut with just 19 runs on the board. A 55-run fourth wicket stand led by No 3 James Watson steadied the ship, but four wickets in eight overs had the visitors under real pressure again at 96-6.

Eighth wicket pair Peter Rayner and Jeremy Benton saw out the day and in the 10 overs played yesterday were able to advance Country's total to 160-7.

Rayner finished unbeaten on 42 and Benton remained on 22. James Watson top-scored with 59 from 86 balls. Celtic swing bowler Blackman finished with top figures of 4-39 from 14 overs.

Wairau left-arm seamer Weaver had 3-34 from 13.

Renwick's new 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Adeel Shafiq wore the gloves for Marlborough and took five catches.

The Marlborough Express