Old Boys have all but assured themselves a spot in Hamilton club cricket's Howden Cup final after an epic fightback in their top of the table Eddy Marr Bowl two-day match against Star University on Saturday.
On day one of the penultimate round-robin fixture at Galloway Park, Ricoh Old Boys won the toss and elected to bat, but were bundled out for just 84 in 34.5 overs on what was a reasonable wicket.
Captain Jake Bezzant said nothing went right, as players pulled the ball straight to fielders, along with a couple of bad umpiring decisions against his side.
But just as first innings points looked forlorn, Old Boys stormed back through seamer Ross Fitz-John, as he bowled with venom and rattled the off-stump four times to reduce The Bank Star University to 24-4 in reply.
Star lost their ninth wicket at 52 and despite the last pair putting on the biggest partnership of the innings, Fitz-John went through the defences of Josh Malpas to have Star all out for 70 in 28.5 overs and finish with 5-23 off 12.5.
With ball having dominated bat big time, the willow then had its turn, as Old Boys came out and dramatically batted Star into submission, finishing the day 213-2, with a lead of 227 heading into day two this Saturday.
Opener Steve Martin hit his first century for the club in his eight years there, making 124 off just 81 balls in 105 minutes, by just playing good cricket shots.
He put on 140 for the second wicket with Elliot Santner, who is unbeaten on 50.
Star are being chased hard on the table by Lonestar Hamilton Boys' High School, who are really the only other side in contention and whose match against Gallagher Melville at Galloway is evenly poised.
After losing Shaun McCarthy first ball of the day, bowled by off-spinner PJ Monga, HBHS posted 203, thanks to Nick O'Sullivan's 60 and Shaan Singh-Parhar's 54.
In reply Melville are 119-5, with 85 runs still required to take first innings points.
Keir Bettley is unbeaten on 51, while off-spinner Josef Walker has taken four wickets.
The bottom of the table clash between Shenanigans Fraser-Tech and The Riv Marist-Suburbs at Galloway featured a further two royal ducks.
Batting first, Tech lost Danny Gibbs first ball of the day to left-arm seamer Kieran Hill, but went on to post 240.
Opener Tim Pryce hit 33, No 3 Matt Hay batted patiently for 47, Jimmy Baker top-scored with 64 at No 6 and Sam Fredricsen scored an important 41 at No 9, while 18-year-old Ugandan seamer Faruk Ochimi claimed 4-60 off 17 overs.
In response, Baker dismissed Shaun Devoy first ball of the innings, and Marist-Suburbs will resume this weekend on 62-3, 178 in arrears.
- Waikato Times
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