Plenty of action expected from Hagley's new pitch
If the premier two-day match between St Albans and Riccarton is a sign of things to come, Hagley Oval is set to host some cracking contests this summer.
With Canterbury set to play two first-class and four limited overs matches at the redeveloped ground throughout February and March, cricket fans can expect plenty of even contests after the two foundation clubs produced an enthralling battle in the new Hagley pitch's first test on Saturday.
St Albans had a slight edge heading into day two, but through Ben Langrope (81) they made it a substantial advantage as they reached 279, a lead of 76 on the first innings, before Riccarton bumbled their way to 77-6 just after the tea break.
Enter Chris Mugford (38no), who produced a masterclass of how to bat with the tail as he added 73 with his final four partners to send the game into the final hour. All three results remained possible after all had seemed lost for Riccarton an hour earlier.
Once Saints wrapped up Riccarton's second innings for 150, they were set a challenging target of 75 in the final nine overs. James O'Gorman (28) gave it a decent nudge but Mugford ensured Saints were lucky to hold on for the draw eight down after an amazing five-over spell of 7-28.
East Shirley captain Tim Papps celebrated his 100th two-day game with victory after his side cruised past Burnside West-University by 107 runs at Burnside Park.
Papps watched from the sidelines as youngsters Hamish Teale (72) and Timothy Hampton-Matehe (26) set BWU 210 for victory.
Veteran Ryan Burson (4-28), with all four leg before wicket victims, provided the polish with match figures of 9-37 while Jared Roberts (3-25) was a useful ally as BWU were rolled for 102 in 37 overs.
Lancaster Park-Woolston continued their strong form jumping to the top of the ladder following their 83-run win over Old Boys Collegians in a low scoring encounter at Garrick Park. Starting at 64-3 with a lead of 108, LPW would have been looking for a substantial lead, but it never materialised as Logan van Beek (4-45), Adam Hastilow (3-35) and Theo van Woerkom (2-16) ripped through their batting order for 115.
With a gettable 160 to defend, LPW's bowlers needed to be on song. Once again it was the impressive Dean van Deventer (5-22) who led his side to victory, routing OBC for 76.
Marist-Harewood wrapped up their clash over struggling Sydenham by an innings and 42 runs on the stroke of lunch after Dan Thomas backed his six wickets in the first innings with another five in the second, to compile match figures of 11-50.