Rheubyn Prattley has produced one of the more remarkable hitting displays in Southland club cricket history as Waikoikoi entered Southland's senior competition with a bang on Saturday.
It was the Waikoikoi Cricket Club's first taste of Southland's senior club cricket competition after stepping up from the second-tier combined country grade and they started of with a victory over Invercargill-Old Boys, thanks mostly to new recruit Prattley, who has transferred from the Albion club.
With the Healthy Soils Ltd-sponsored Waikoikoi team batting first, Prattley went to the crease with his team sitting at 76-3 from 27.4 overs and, when he departed 21 overs later, his team were at 242-6.
Prattley racked up an astonishing 128 from just 62 balls, which included 90 runs in boundaries.
He used the strong wind to good effect, hitting 12 sixes, with most of those coming from hitting downwind.
While Prattley was entertainer and enforcer Jared McKenzie played just as important a role in helping Waikoikoi through to 252-7 batting first.
He provided the glue to the innings with his patient 54 from 129 balls playing the support role in him and Prattley's 126-run fourth-wicket stand.
When the AWS-sponsored Invercargill-Old Boys team were reduced to 11-3 in their run chase, victory was a long way off.
However, Invercargill-Old Boys skipper Jason Domigan produced some batting heroics that set up a thrilling finish and almost got his team home.
Domigan scored 119 in an impressive 130-ball knock, which included 16 fours.
With the help of James Wadworth (21), before he was unluckily run out with a glance at the bowler's end, and then Jamie May (47), Invercargill-Old Boys were well and truly in a winning position.
Domigan and May put on 135 for the fifth wicket and, when May departed, Invercargill-Old Boys needed 70 from 52 balls with five wickets in hand.
The equation got down to needing 11 off the last over but with just the one wicket in hand.
Unfortunately for the Invercargill-Old Boys folk, their hopes were dashed when No 11 batsman Nishant Sharma was run out heading back for a second run off the second ball in the 50th over.
Prattley backed up his impressive batting deeds by taking three wickets, including the important ones of Domigan and May.
In a normal round of Southland club cricket, the major talking point would have been Domigan's knock of 119, but Saturday belonged to Prattley and Waikoikoi, who are one from one in the senior competition.
252 for seven 50 overs (R Prattley 128, J McKenzie 54, J Chittock 24, T Hazlemore 17; N Sharma 10-1-55-3, J Domigan 10-1-38-1, N Nautiyal 10-1-44-1, J Boyle 4-0-45-1), Invercargill-Old Boys 246 all out 49.2 overs (J Domigan 119, J May 47, J Wadworth 21, J Hodson 21, A Singh 11; R Prattley 9.2-1-50-3, N Howden 5-0-30-2, T Hazlemore 6-0-26-1, A McCall 10-0-35-0).
While round three produced one of the brighter highlights for Southland club cricket in many years through Waikoikoi's thrilling first-up win, Saturday also produced one of the more disappointing lowlights for Southland senior club cricket in terms of the past decade.
While the thrilling Waikoikoi-Invercargill-Old Boys game was being played out, Appleby and Marist were supposed to be going head to head at Appleby.
Instead, however, the Marist Cricket Club chose to default the game, with most of the team opting to head to Dunedin to watch the All Blacks-Australia rugby test.
Last season, the club had a team in both the Combined Country and senior competition but has not entered a team in the second competition this season.
The senior team's default has provided more concerns for the Marist club. Rams beat Marist by default.
The spinners dominated the Metro-Albion game in Gore on Saturday, with the tweakers taking 13 of the 20 wickets to fall in the third fixture of round three.
The North Gore Dairy-sponsored Albion team won the toss and elected to bowl first and the Metro batsmen struggled to post a decent target, batting in the blustery conditions and slow outfield.
Added to that was some very tight bowling, which was started by veterans Grant Gutschlag and Rich Jury, who went for a combined 23 runs from the 17 overs they sent down.
With the screws on, they introduced left-arm spinner Michael Grattan, who sliced through the Metro batting lineup taking six wickets to restrict Metro to only 127 all out.
Metro skipper Jason Osborne looked at ease in his handy knock of 40, which included two sixes, before he holed out on the mid-wicket boundary from Grattan's bowling.
Batting at eight, Daniel Mills produced a rapid-fire 27 not out, which in the washup to this game proved very valuable.
While the target of 128 seemed small, both teams knew at the change of innings it would prove tricky given the conditions, and that proved to be the case as the Metro bowling attack along with some impressive catching from slip Matt Burgess put the screws on the Albion batsmen.
Spinners Rajinder Singh and James Crisp turned out to be the key, with Singh opening the bowling, with 10 straight overs, picking up two wickets and conceding only 13 runs.
Albion's Steve Waddell looked like he could be settling in for a vital knock when he picked up a couple of sixes and a four but the introduction of left-arm spinner Crisp put the brakes on.
He produced the remarkable figures: 10 overs, seven maidens, two wickets for just five runs.
At the other end, medium pacer Jared Simpson chipped in with three wickets as Albion were restricted to 82 all out.
The difficult nature of scoring was highlighted by the fact Albion had used up 44 overs in getting that score of 82. Tigers 127 all out 40 overs (J Osborne 40, D Mills 27* Hamish Cooke 11; M Grattan 9-1-37-6, G Gutschlag 9-5-6-2, N Leggett 4-1-11-1) beat Albion 82 all out 44 overs (J Simpson 10-2-26-3, J Crisp 10-7-5-2, R Singh 10-2-13-2, D Sayora 2-1-1-1, D Mills 6-1-22-1).
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