Cautious play pays off for Appleby
Some defiant batting from Appleby on Saturday has them in a strong position to win the inaugural Southland club cricket "declaration" competition when it wraps up next weekend.
Playing against Invercargill-Old Boys at Appleby, the home side did a good job with the ball, restricting Invercargill-Old Boys to 152 for eight from 55 overs before captain Jason Domigan decided to declare their innings closed.
James Wadworth was Invercargill-Old Boys' best batsman with his 70 from 123 balls, while for Appleby, Callum Johnstone's bowling put the pressure on as he went for only 20 runs from 13 overs and picked up three key wickets.
While 153 from 55 overs was a more than achievable target, knowing a draw would still put them in the box seat in the title race, Appleby took limited risks.
Clinton Goad led the way with a nuggety knock of 42 runs from 119 balls.
At 137 for seven Appleby looked in a comfortable position until a couple of late wickets sent some nerves into the camp. They held on though, batting out the remaining deliveries and finishing 137 for nine which was enough for them to share the points with a draw.
The scenario is simple for Appleby now, beat bottom-placed Southland Boys' High School next Saturday and claim the 2012 declaration competition honours.
Albion continued what has been an encouraging start to the 2012/13 season with a win over the Metro Tigers in Gore on Saturday.
Batting first, Metro got through to 200 for nine from 57 overs before declaring. The in-form Jason Osborne provided Metro with some much needed momentum through the innings with his knock of 85 which included four sixes.
It was Southland representative Ronnie Kotcamp who proved the thorn in Metro's side with the ball for Albion, taking four for 36 from his 14 overs.
Albion captain Michael Gratton also continued his good form, producing 16 tight overs with his off-spinners.
Albion had 53 overs to either chase down the target or hold intact and pick up the draw.
It was the win they were after and, after losing three relatively early wickets, Albion found a much-needed partnership in the form of Steve Waddell (64) and Ryan Rusk (50) who put on 103 for the fourth wicket.
When that partnership was broken Grant Gutchslag picked up from where they left off, although it came after a nervous moment.
Gutchslag was bowled early in his innings but Mark Beer had been deemed to have overstepped and was called for a no-ball.
Gutchslag went on to compile an important unbeaten 33 which included two sixes and three fours as his team passed Metro's total with the loss of six wickets and two overs to spare.
Marist picked up the win over Southland Boys' High School on Saturday but the pupils showed a lot more fight with their batting than shown in recent weeks.
Southland Boys' High School had been bowled out for just 35 and 53 in their past two innings and were eager for a better showing against Marist.
It was Jonty Brown who was the star of the show for Marist, firstly playing the key hand in helping his team to 223 for nine from 58 overs with his knock of 92.
Bailey Andrews was the best of the Southland Boys' bowlers, chipping in with four wickets.
In reply the pupils made an encouraging start showing some resilience with the bat, which included James Heffernan opening and batting through the first 30 overs.
However when he was involved in a mixup with Nick McCallum and was run out it was the breakthrough Marist needed to get on top.
George Mulvey and Brown got into their work with the ball, picking up five and three wickets respectively as the home team were bowled out for 145 ever so close to holding on to a draw.
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