Celtic consolidated their position at the top of the table after winning outright over Star, Temuka made it a short trip to Waimate to wrap up their match, while Timaru's decision not to declare in their second innings may come back to haunt them after failing to dismiss a resilient Roncalli/Celtic with the match ending in a draw.
Roncalli/Celtic began their second day needing a further 65 runs off only 13 overs to gain first innings points over Timaru at Ashbury Park.
Will Watts continued his fine form from last weekend, converting his first senior fifty in South Canterbury into his first senior century as he looked assured on his way to 107. His innings included some aggressive strokeplay as the overs available before the compulsory declaration dried up and he tried to get his team closer.
In the end it was down to the tailenders to try and get Roncalli/Celtic across the line but the Timaru fielders were up to the task, running the last batsman out with the first innings scores tied at 242.
Brad Leonard led the Timaru bowlers, picking up three wickets while Zane Sanders and Sam Porter backed him up with two apiece.
By now the wicket was starting to dry out and crack. Along with a very uneven bounce it was always going to be difficult to bat last on, but Dan Murari with 88 made it seem much more manageable than the rest of his team as he led the way to setting a target.
With the news through that Temuka had already won outright, and Roncalli/Celtic probably out of the running, most expected Timaru would declare earlier to give Roncalli/Celtic a sniff to keep them encouraged.
More importantly, the declaration would give themselves time to dismiss Roncalli/Celtic a second time and consolidate their position in second place on the Tweedy Cup points table.
However, despite several discussions the declaration never came and eventually Timaru were dismissed for 200 with Grant Watt taking 6-71 in a long spell and captain James Ellwood chiming in with a tidy 2-10.
Set 201 to win off only 35 overs Roncalli/Celtic were never seriously going to look at a chase, especially under the prevailing conditions and after losing two early wickets with the score on three.
It was captain Ellwood who carried the battle, fighting through to 44. He was well supported by Adam Beck with 36 and then on his departure Watts continued his good match as he added 33.
At 120-4 the match looked saved when Nick Galwey made a breakthrough and suddenly he and Zane Sanders, who had bowled in tandem for 20 overs, had a chance to attack the tail. However, despite some nervous moments, and with eight and nine players crowding the bat, the young boys kept their heads as Roncalli/Celtic finished on 136-7 at stumps savouring a good fight, while Timaru will be pondering the "what if" question if they had had another 10 overs available to bowl.
Star was dismissed for 152 in their first innings, two runs short of the follow-on mark and Celtic promptly asked them to bat again.
A much more solid effort led by Danny Campbell with 44 saw Star bat 64 overs before being dismissed for 206. Importantly that set a target of 105 in reasonable time for Celtic, and led by captain Sam Carlaw with 48 they chased it down in 26 overs for the loss of only three wickets.
Temuka put themselves right back into finals contention by picking up outright points in Waimate.
The hosts were effectively 89-5 overnight as not out batsman Lachie Robertson on 22 was unavailable.
Kevin Kerse made the most of his opportunities as he routed the remaining Waimate batsmen on his way to figures of 6-20 as Waimate were dismissed for 113.
Temuka lost just one wicket on their way to the 20 required.
While Celtic are well out in front on the points table, Star, Temuka and Timaru are within about four points of each other with two rounds left before the final so there will be several scenarios to play out yet.
Will Watts 107, Dan Murari 88, Kevin Kerse 6-20, Grant Watt 6-71.
- The Timaru Herald