Tigers, Boys' High gain spots in final
The Metro Tigers and Southland Boys' High School will contest the 2013-14 Southland one-day club cricket final after both won tense semifinals in Saturday.
There was no shortage of drama and nailbiting moments as both semifinals played at Queens Park went down to the wire.
Invercargill-Old Boys won the toss and sent Metro in for a bat and right from the outset had the home team in all sorts when Hamish Cooke was caught behind for a duck.
The ball was moving a bit off the seam and the Invercargill-Old Boys bowlers were hitting their line and length, proving a hand- ful.
Mark Beer's hard-fought 37 was a standout in Metro's struggle as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually bundled out for just 122.
With the track looking as if it was flattening out, and Invercargill-Old Boys possessing plenty of depth in their batting, at the change of innings the visitors looked very much in the box seat to reach their first one-day final since 2005.
If Metro were to claim this victory they needed to be aggressive and early wickets were a must.
That was exactly what followed.
Teenager Jared Simpson was a standout in the field for Metro and it started with a flat throw to run out opener Chris Menzies as the first Invercargill-Old Boys wicket fell.
Metro kept the foot on and had Invercargill-Old Boys 36 for four but it was the fifth wicket to fall, which was probably the most crucial in the game.
Amarpreet Singh was on 20 and five or 10 overs of his free-flowing batting would have taken the game away from Metro but again a sharp piece of work in the field had Singh run out and it was game on.
When Metro reduced Invercargill-Old Boys to 70 for seven Metro had gained the upper hand but there were plenty more twists to this game.
Khanin Saikia and Mayank Nautiyal teamed up to put on 31 for the eighth wicket before Metro grabbed two quick wickets to reduce Invercargill-Old Boys to 102 for nine.
No 11 Matt Anderson-Stewart joined Nautiyal at the crease, with the pair needing 21 for victory.
Bit by bit, as a haze of tension hovered over the ground, the pair slowly chipped away to the point they reduced the situation to needing just four runs to win.
However, with victory in sight, Anderson-Stewart chipped a ball from the bowling of Brayden Lindsay that looked like it was heading for a couple of runs if not four.
However, Simpson covered ground well and put out the outstretched arm to take a one-handed catch to win the game.
Metro will now eye Southland Boys' High School in the final after they grabbed a hard-fought win over Appleby.
Southland Boys' won the toss and chose to bat first on a pitch that looked like it had plenty of runs in it.
They lost Chris Neylon for a duck and the in-form James Ng departed for 19 before Piet Grandiek (60) and player/coach Craig Smith (69) put on 85 for the third wicket.
They then loss four quick wickets in a succession and left the lower order with the task of getting them past a 200-plus score.
First, Sam Rodden provided an important 19, but No 10 and No 11 Liam McWilliam and Alex Tait delivered probably the most important contribution.
They joined together at 190 for nine and finished the 50 overs at 226 for nine with the 36-run last-wicket stand a huge one in the context of the game.
When openers Veda Nadhammi and Daryl Williams were cruising at 63 for nine, Appleby were confident in their reply and, when they got through to 139 for three and Clinton Goad (62) at the crease, they were in an even stronger position.
However, the young Southland Boys' team stuck to their guns and were able to instigate a Appleby collapse.
With the run rate creeping over six runs per over required and wickets in hand dying up, the squeeze went on and eventually Appleby were bowled out for 209 to finish 17 runs short.
- The Southland Times