Marist on front foot heading into semifinals
New Plymouth Marist United claimed the No 1 semifinal spot in the Taranaki premier grade cricket competition on Saturday.
Marist United cannot be headed after picking up 14 points to take their total to 74 when scoring an unlikely outright victory over New Plymouth Boys' High School in the penultimate round of qualifying.
The remaining three semifinal places are up for grabs with eight points separating six of the remaining seven teams heading into the final round, which starts this weekend.
Stratford are bottom with 32 points and are the only team without a chance of making it.
Resuming at 97-4 in reply to the school side's 210, Leith Johnston and Ryan Fleming combined to put on 71 runs for the fifth wicket to take the score through to 159.
Marist United looked headed for a first-innings loss after they lost their eighth wicket with 171 runs on the board.
But when tailender Sam Barrett joined Matthew Hawkes the scoreboard started ticking over, the duo put on 82 runs before Hawkes was run out for 47, leaving Barrett unbeaten on 41 and the score at 279.
Boys' High's best bowler was Rupert Young with 5-74 from his 15 overs.
The school side then declared at 159-9, with Cam Black hitting 62, setting Marist United a target of 90 to win in 18 overs.
While Marist lost two early wickets, Johnston (32no) and Dean Robinson (40no) got their team home with an over to spare without further loss.
Woodleigh picked up first innings points in their drawn match against New Plymouth Old Boys at Sutherland Park.
Old Boys managed to add only 12 runs to their overnight first innings total of 137-7 in reply to Woodleigh's 226.
Simon Bird did most of the damage for Woodleigh picking up a five wicket bag off his medium pace bowling.
Woodleigh declared their second innings at 256-6, setting Old Boys 333 runs to win in 51 overs.
Leading the way with a hard hitting unbeaten century for the home side was No 6 batsman David Collingwood (102no). His innings including 15 fours and two sixes.
Stumps were pulled at 6pm, with Old Boys reaching 140-3 as Jamie Watkins ended the day 40no.
Francis Douglas Memorial College caused the upset of the round by beating Hawera United by an innings and 17 runs to pick up the maximum 16 competition points in the round.
Hawera resumed their first innings on day two on 90-2 and were dismissed for 163 in reply to the home side's 316 batting first on day one.
Following on, Hawera put up little resistance and never fired and were dismissed for 136 in 49.2 overs.
The main destroyer for the college side in both innings was teacher and former Black Cap Peter Ingram who picked a total of eight wickets in the match - four in each innings.
Inglewood improved their top four chances appreciably when beating Stratford outright by 10 wickets.
Missing a number of their top order batsmen, Stratford resumed their second innings after losing the first innings on day one on 25-2, making it through to 137, with Chris Askew (61) and Luke Gould 71 the main contributors.
The best bowler for Inglewood was Hayden McIntyre (3-38 off 11 overs).
Inglewood needed 23 runs to win outright and managed that without loss, Ben Wilson hitting 19.
HONOURS BOARD Batting D Collingwood (W'leigh) 102no D Stewart (NPOB) 77 L Gould (Stratford) 71 A Mason (Woodleigh) 65no C Askew (Stratford) 61 Bowling R Young (NPBHS) 5-74 S Bird (Woodleigh) 5-35
Taranaki Daily News