Star won their third match in a row as their end of season resurgence continued.
They won their double header of Twenty20 matches over the weekend, while Temuka, minus their rep men, went the other way, losing both matches in the dying minutes despite Robbie Barry's outstanding return to cricket with 50s in both matches.
Star's weekend began with a Friday night match against Temuka where they won the toss and decided to bowl.
Temuka got off to a flyer as openers Robbie Barry, returning after a couple of seasons away, top-scored with 52 and Adam Beck (44) set the foundation for a high total.
Unfortunately things slowed as Temuka lost their way somewhat, even with a quickfire 26 not out from Willie Stone, and they finished on about a par score at Aorangi with 164-5.
Star lost opener Paul Arkinstall with the score at just 19, but then Henry Race notched up his best score for Star with 70 (backing up his 3-26 with the ball) and Nick Haack 26 put on 97 for the second wicket in good time. Danny Campbell (23*) and Tyler Cox then continued the chase as it rose to about 10 an over, but then, a crucial decision by Temuka to give a part-timer the 18th over backfired, as 20 runs were conceded allowing Star to cruise through to win in the 19th over without too much pressure as they made 165-3.
Backing up again on Saturday, Star was home at Mountainview to the Cavaliers in a match with several potential individual matchups. Star again won the toss and chose to field.
The Cavaliers lost two early wickets at one end while Mike de Joux settled into run-scoring mode at the other end on his way to a game high of 64.
He and Mike Davies (14) added 60 runs for the third wicket before a mid-order collapse saw scoring at a premium, but a lively 23 not out from Phil Duffield in a 38-run ninth wicket partnership with his captain Nick Noone saw the Cavaliers through to a competitive 139-8 at the end of their 20 overs.
For Star, the underutilised Phil McGregor returned the best bowling figures of 3-21, while Race again snaffled three to match his bowling from the previous night.
Star opened with Friday night's stars, and Henry Race (31) and Nick Haack (22) got them well on the way with a 58-run partnership.
When they both departed, Danny Campbell who finished with 32 not out to be on the credit side of his bowling was joined by Hamish Dickson, who was soon playing some punishing drives on his way to an unbeaten 44 as the pair gave Star a comfortable victory in 17 overs.
Star captain Jeremy Lane was pleased with the weekend and the fact that the team had won three in a row, saying, "We have persevered throughout the season and are now starting to build some confidence among the younger guys which bodes well for Star as we build towards next season."
In Temuka, the home side missed out again as Timaru scored the required runs in the final over with nine wickets down.
Temuka batted first and Robbie Barry, who was hobbling after his Friday night 50, again found the energy to score 53, and had a 64-run partnership with Adrian Cunningham (32). But with few other meaningful contributions, Temuka could only post 121-6.
In reply, only one Timaru batsman thwarted Temuka's efforts as Gerald Piddock brought up his first 50 of the season on the way to 52. Wickets continued to tumble for Timaru as they lost their ninth at 119, still three shy of victory. Saini, 10 not out, saw them home with a couple of balls to spare.
With all the T20 round robin matches over, top qualifiers Waimate face off against Celtic in the final at Aorangi Oval next Friday night starting at 5.30pm which should be an interesting battle, especially with all the rep players back.
Henry Race 70 Mike de Joux 64 Robbie Barry 52 and 53 Gerald Piddock 52
- The Timaru Herald