Appleby down Marist to go to top
The Appleby Rams have propelled themselves into the top of Southland club cricket's one-day competition with a win over Marist in Invercargill on Saturday as the race to the semifinals heats up.
The Metro Tigers look to have cemented their place in the playoffs, while just six points separate Invercargill-Old Boys in second place and Albion in sixth place with just four rounds to play.
Appleby went from sixth to fourth on Saturday when they picked up a tight-fought nine-run win over Marist,
Batting first in a reduced 45 overs-per-side game, Appleby scored 141thanks mostly to Calum Johnstone's 61, which helped them out of a hole when they were 21-3.
Marist would have been confident at the change of innings that they could chase down the total and push for a semifinals berth but it was heartache as they pulled up nine runs short.
Marty McKenzie, better known for his deeds on the rugby field than the cricket pitch, went hard at the ball at the top and chipped in with 33.
When Shaun Fitzgibbon (19) and Jonty Brown (22) were at the crease together with the score 93-2 Marist were very much in the box set needing 49 runs with eight wickets in hand and plenty of time to do it.
They lost eight wickets for 40 runs in a collapse that probably has ended their semi-final hopes.
Rick Harding did the early damage taking four wickets, while Daryl Williams mopped up the rest, also taking four wickets in the tense win.
Metro maintained their unbeaten record but only just when they claimed a thrilling one-wicket win over Albion at Hamilton Park in Gore.
Batting first, Albion got off to a flier with openers Kieran Lloyd and Mike Grattan going at over six an over in the first 10 overs. However, Metro pulled it back with the introduction of Brayden Lindsay to the bowling crease and at one stage looked liked they should have bowled the homeside out for 150.
However, Ronnie Kotcamp made sure the total got to 181 which was more than competitive on a difficult scoring ground.
Openers Mark Beer and Hamish Cooke got their team off to a steady start putting on 63 for the first wicket.
But the introduction of Kieran Lloyd and Isaac Gutschlag put the brakes on and put Albion well and truly in the frontrunners position.
Between them they sent down 20 overs to take four wickets for only 43 runs.
Metro needed a partnership badly and it come from Daniel Mills and Southland coach Steve Jackson, who stepped out of retirement to help his club out.
The pair put on 52 to bring Metro back into the game and take it to the wire.
When they departed there was plenty of work still to do and it got to Metro needing 14 runs off the final two overs.
Jared Simpson and James Crisp took 12 off the second last over leaving the visitors needing two off the final over, which was bowled Kotcamp.
Simpson was run out on the first leaving No 11 Rajinder Singh to face Kotcamp needing two more runs to win.
They ran a leg bye to tie the scores before Crisp squeezed another single to grab a tight win against a disappointed but plucky Albion outfit.
Invercargill-Old Boys shot to second place in the standings when they banked a comfortable eight-wicket win over Waikoikoi at Waikoikoi.
Batting first Waikoikoi were rolled for just 98 as the struggled against Invercargill-Old Boys' spinning duo.
Between Khanin Saikia and Mayank Nautiyal they bowled 20 overs for only 26 runs and picked up three wickets.
Invercargill-Old Boys had little trouble with the chase losing just two wickets.
- The Southland Times