Sat, Dec 2, 2023 6:38 PM

Celtic claim first trophy of the season


Peter Jones

Celtic are the 2023-24 senior cricket one-day champions.

The Green and Golds surged to a five-wicket win over Wairau Valley in the competition decider at Horton Park this afternoon.

Their ultimately-comfortable victory was based on a persistent and disciplined bowling and fielding effort, later complemented by a blistering half century from youngster Luke Holdaway.

Batting first, Valley came out with a positive attitude but were in immediate trouble, losing top order batsmen Sukh Aulakh, Harry Campbell and Sam Boyce cheaply. Matthew Stretch and Luke Pannell endeavoured to right the ship, taking the score to 75-3 before Stretch (38) fell to the spin bowling wiles of Josh Poole, offering up a low catch to Jaden Adams. Pannell followed in the next over, adjudged lbw to Poole.

Next, it was left to Tim Abrahams (19) and Eddie Swan to get Valley back on track and they battled hard, taking the score to 107 before Swan spooned up a simple catch off Ben Blackman’s medium pace bowling. Just one run later Abrahams tickled one through to keeper Jack Holdaway and Valley were in big trouble, seven wickets down.

Batting hero Luke Holdaway is congratulated by his team-mates. 

Jethro Moran, with an unbeaten 17, did his best to form a lower-order partnership but found little assistance, the final wicket falling in the 45th over with just 140 runs on the board.

All the Celtic bowlers tasted success. Jaden Adams claimed 2-19 from seven overs, fellow paceman Matt McCormick picked up 2-27 from eight. Poole bagged 2-31 from 10, Tom Sutherland 1-17 from nine, Blackman 2-25 from eight and Luke Holdaway 1-21 from three.

In reply, Celtic came out swinging. Openers Tom Sloan and Greg Knowles set the tone, Knowles blasting a quick 15 and Sloan 26. By the time Sloan departed, with the score at 47-2, they had provided a platform for the ensuing batters to attack from. To their credit, Valley fought back, claiming the key wickets of Sutherland and Poole cheaply, the latter being run out at the bowler’s end after a deflection from the bowler.

At 68-4 Valley had a sniff of victory, but the arrival of talented lefthander Luke Holdaway soon extinguished their hopes. His partnerships with brothers Ben and Jack soon pushed the score over the 100 mark, Luke and Jack’s unbeaten 54-run collaboration propelling Celtic to 144-5 in the 24th over.

Luke ended on a superb unbeaten 54, containing 12 fours, hitting the ball with power and precision to all parts of the field.

Valley’s attack was weakened by an unfortunate accident to pace bowler Aulakh after he had bowled a single over. He collided with a fellow fielder when going for an outfield catch and twisted an ankle.

Boyce again carried the bulk of the workload, taking 2-37 from 10 overs. Pannell and Liam George were the other wicket-takers.

Although they lost a few wickets along the way, Celtic appeared to have the game well in hand from the early stages.

With the likes of McCormick, Adams and Blackman still to bat, the Green and Golds displayed their admirable depth, and not only in batting, drawing first blood in the battle for senior supremacy this season.


Meanwhile, the senior Twenty20 competition continued on Friday evening, Celtic and Renwick emerging victorious.

Renwick underlined their potential with a sizeable victory over Wairau Valley, prevailing by 130 runs at Oliver Park. Their effort was spearheaded by the Bovey brothers, Rikki and Corey, who put together a superb first-wicket partnership of 133. Rikki scored 64 while Corey batted through the innings to remain undefeated on 120, with 15 fours and three sixes. Joe Timms chipped in with 23 at the end to push Renwick to a mammoth 249-2.

Valley’s batters were always under pressure as they limped their way to 119 in the 19thover. Luke Pannell (20), Chris Coull (30) and Lachlan MacNeill (22) top scored but they never seriously threatened Renwick’s run tally. Archie Cornelius and Joe Timms both bagged a brace of wickets.

The other match, at Horton Park, saw Celtic warm up for Saturday’s 50-over final with a solid four-wicket win over Wairau.

Wairau set the Celts a testing target, scoring 152-6 from their 20 overs, Griffin Carter (25), Baxter Croad (30) and Mike Hood (41) the top contributors. Tom Sutherland took 3-34 while Josh Poole snared 2-24 to restrict Wairau’s run rate and make for a manageable chase.

However, it took 19 overs for Celtic to reach a winning total of 155-6 as Wairau made them work hard all the way. Sutherland (24), Tom Sloan (35) and Poole (22) were amongst the runs, while Carter and Sam Young bowled economically and grabbed a wicket apiece.

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