Defending one-day champions St Albans warmed up for next Sunday's semifinals in perfect fashion, demolishing Lancaster Park-Woolston by seven wickets in a reduced overs match at Garrick Park on Saturday.
Saints, who finished on top of the table, ripped through the LPW batting order with Michael Davidson (4-14) and Dave Twigg (3-10) the chief destroyers in the 40-over-a-side contest.
Dean van der Venter top-scored with 18 for LPW in their total of 80, which was propped up by 22 extras, 18 of which were wides.
Saints lost three early wickets in pursuit of their straightforward target but once Josh Peters (25no) and James O'Gorman (25no) came together the chase became a breeze as the pair put on an unbroken 53-run stand for the fourth wicket with Saints finding their best form at the business end of the season.
Saints will play Canterbury Country after the Rangiora-based club won their winner-take-all clash with Riccarton by five wickets at Mainpower Oval.
Riccarton gave themselves every chance to progress to the semis by getting runs on the board with their total of 204 always going to be tricky to chase in such circumstances.
Dean Brownlie (58) and Arnie Yugaraja (47) led the way for Riccarton with the bat, while Dan Fleming (4-43) and Tim Muir (3-43) were important wicket-takers for Country to stifle Riccarton's charge.
Country's chase was dominated by recalled Black Cap and Wizards' captain Peter Fulton who produced a typically majestic 92 on Rangiora's batting paradise, while Matt Laffey (39) and Henry Nicholls (22) provided valuable support as they wrapped up victory with 51 balls to spare.
Old Boys Collegians consolidated second position with a nervy four-wicket win over Burnside West-University in a low-scoring match at Elmwood Park.
Set 100 to win in the reduced 36 overs-a-side contest, OBC were cruising with Joel Abraham (33) and Ravi Singh (35no) taking them close to their target before Abraham's wicket triggered a mini collapse of four wickets before Singh and Theo van Woerkom held their nerve to seal victory in the 19th over.
Earlier Ed Nuttall (4-22) ripped through the BWU order with dropped Black Cap Todd Astle (1-14 off six overs) also bowling well in tandem.
Mitchell Croft provided the most resistance of the BWU batsmen with 30, while extras were once again a strong performer with 18.
East Shirley, who will meet OBC in next weekend's semis, saved their best batting performance for the final round in their 176-run thrashing of wooden spooners Sydenham at Sydenham Park.
Hamish Teale top scored with 88 while Ben Hanham (60) provided strong support in Easts total of 283-8.
Sydenham's winless season showed no signs of abating as they were bundled out for 107 in 36.2 overs with Jason Pawson (3-10), Will Otte (2-26), Tim Johnston (2-29) and Jared Roberts (1-3 off six) all potent with the ball for Easts.
In yesterday's match which did not affect the semifinalists Marist-Harewood continued their recent losing streak beaten by the Canterbury under-20s at Redwood Park.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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