Clark comes good at right time for Appleby

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 25/02/2013

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The playoffs are here.

The 2012-13 round-robin season ended on Saturday, with Metro, Appleby, Albion and Marist now eyeing crunch time next Saturday.

Metro and Appleby contest the major semifinal, with the winners going directly to the final and the losers getting a second life.

Albion will host Marist in the other playoff, with the losing team's title hopes over and the winning team playing the losers of the major semifinal.

Appleby ensured their place in the top two when they beat the Metro Tigers, who had already booked a place in the major semifinal.

Appleby's victory at home was a tense one as they went about chasing down a target of 192.

Appleby started the day in impressive fashion when opening bowlers Culum Johnstone and Daryl Williams removed Metro opening batsmen Mark Beer and Matt Burgess with the score on two.

Johnstone then dished up a great inswinging delivery to clean up Geoff Folster as Metro were reduced to 22 for three.

Jason Osborne (75) and Hamish Skelt (50) did a good job in breathing some life into the Metro innings, putting on 115 for the fourth wicket before Skelt departed.

David Hall, playing his first game for Metro in a couple of seasons, made a handy 19 but when he departed the wheels well and truly fell off the visitors as Mark Ross grabbed the wickets of both Hall and Osborne.

Metro lost their last five wickets for just 15 runs, a major factor in the final outcome of the game.

Appleby timed their chase beautifully despite it looking like it was slipping away at stages with the asking rate getting up to eight an over.

Williams (31) and skipper Clinton Goad (40) set a solid foundation early.

Vedha Nadhamuni (28) did a good job in the middle order while Johnstone showed maturity in timing the chase well with his unbeaten 29.

However, it was left to Jamie Clark, who found himself on strike with two balls remaining in the chase and still needing three runs from the competition's leading wicket-taker Jared Simpson.

Clark did the job, much to the delight of his team-mates, when he hit Simpson over cover for four to see Appleby home with one ball and three wickets to spare.

Albion banked their home semifinal next weekend in impressive style with a crushing win over an understrength Invercargill-Old Boys lineup.

Albion dominated this game at Gore from the outset, with the inform Kieren Lloyd starting proceedings with his knock of 69 and the father-and-son combination of Grant and Isaac Gutschlag provided their team with plenty more momentum in the middle order as Albion got through to 262 for seven from their 50 overs.

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The task was always going to be a difficult one for Invercargill-Old Boys but when Shane Harper got in on the act for Albion with the new ball any little hope quickly disappeared.

He took the first three wickets of Invercargill-Old Boys' chase with the score at 18 and finished with six wickets all up from his 10 overs in what was the individual highlight.

Invercargill struggled against the Albion lineup as the home side gave them nothing, bowling them out for just 66 to record victory by a margin of 196 runs.

The loss brought the curtain down on what has been an indifferent season for the Invercargill-Old Boys team.

They have struggled to string a run of good performances together which has come on the back of having four regular members of the Southland Hawke Cup team in and out of the squad from week to week.

Southland Boys' High School is the other club to miss the playoffs but it did at least manage to end the 2012-13 club season on a high with a win over Marist on Saturday.

Batting first, the pupils did a superb job setting a total as Kaleb Geary (69) and Liam McWilliam (53) set the platform with well worked half-centuries.

Ryan Acland (28 not out), Piet Grandiek (27) and Tom Laidlaw (21) also made handy contributions as they got through to 222 for five from their 50 overs.

The bowlers then backed up the impressive batting deeds to dismiss Marist for just 119 and grab a commanding victory.

Nick McCallum took four wickets to be the pick of the bowlers while Sam Rodden grabbed three.

McWilliam added to his success with the bat by also claiming two wickets.

The performance will be a confidence boost as they head into the second of their traditional summer interschool fixtures against Dunedin's Kings High School today in Invercargill.

They were beaten by Shirley Boys' High School last week.

logan.savory@stl.co.nz

- The Press

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