Fri, Feb 9, 2024 10:24 PM

Celtic clinch club cricket double


Peter Jones

Celtic added the 2023-24 senior Twenty20 title to their one-day cricket crown today, getting up the final over to pip Wairau.

Needing 12 runs from the final six balls, bowled by left arm paceman Nick Weaver, Celtic reached their target with two balls to spare to win by four wickets at Horton Park.

Steering them home were talented youngster Luke Holdaway, who ended on 14 not out, and experienced hand Ben Blackman, who contributed a timely 10 runs, including a sweetly-struck six off his legs, to get the job done.

Wairau put a respectable “par score” of 134-4 on the board after being asked to bat.

They made a steady start, Aidan Lavender and Weaver, who top-scored with 40 from 32 balls, pushing the score to 35 in the sixth over before Lavender perished. The arrival of Mike Hood (14 from 10) lifted the run-rate and took Wairau to 70-2 at the halfway stage. Andrew McCaa then joined Weaver and the pair began to score freely, before Celtic applied the brakes. Some intelligent bowling by spinners Tom Sutherland (1-17 from four) and Josh Poole, plus medium pacer Greg Knowles slowed Wairau’s charge and ate up some valuable overs.

Wairau batsman Alex Kennedy hits out.

Harry Boyce entered the fray at the fall of Weaver’s wicket and threatened to form a dangerous partnership with McCaa before the latter was run out for 21 from 24.

Boyce (a run-a-ball 26) and Alex Kennedy (11 from 9) saw out the overs but a superb final six balls from Blackman, which conceded only four runs, ensured there was to be no late surge on the scoreboard.

Unlike Wairau, Celtic made a rapid start to their innings, 23 runs coming from the first three overs as Greg Knowles (21 from 15) took centre stage.

When he departed fellow opener Tom Sloan took over, maintaining a solid scoring rate before he fell for 16 in the eighth with 47 on the board.

A period of consolidation followed, Sutherland (25 from 35) and Poole (28 from 25) pushing the Celtic total past the 100-run mark in the 17th over before both departed.

Tom Sloan is bowled by Hunter Ruffell.

With the vastly-experienced duo of McCaa and Weaver to bowl the final three overs, and 28 runs required, the odds were slightly in favour of the bowling side.

However, the Celtic batsmen held their nerve and, despite losing two wickets in two balls during the penultimate over, they wrapped up the senior club double in exciting fashion, Blackman slamming a six before he and Holdaway scampered through for a leg bye to send their vocal band of supporters home happy.

McCaa finished with the figures of 4-26 from four, while Hunter Ruffell bagged 2-21 from his allocation.

Earlier in the season Celtic won the one-day title, beating Wairau Valley in the final.

UCVC batsman Bryn Cotching cuts behind square during the second grade final.

Second grade final

The second grade T20 final was contested on Thursday evening, with United Country and Vineyard taking the honours, albeit narrowly.

They beat Celtic Green by one run, the match coming down to the final ball of the last over.

UCVC batted first and set a moderate total of 123, being dismissed with two balls to bowl.

Paul Hickman, with a run-a-ball 22 got the ball rolling, Bryn Cotching contributing 23 from 18 and Duncan Grigg added a steady 17 to help UCVC to a total that they could defend.

Celtic’s fielding was secure, Tom Sloan taking a couple of fine catches, while Luca Turnbull, with 3-15 from three overs, led the bowling attack along with Liam Young who claimed 2-19 from 3.4.

UCVC made early inroads with the ball and had Celtic under immediate pressure. Led by Simon Muir, 1-6 from four, and Dan Campbell, 3-21 from four, they had Celtic reeling at 4-28, needing around nine runs an over at one stage.

However, 30 off 28 from Liam Young steadied the ship and, along with a solid 15 from James Croker, slowly hauled Celtic back into contention.

Ben Holdaway winds up during the second grade T20 final. 

Number seven batter Ollie Lawson’s arrival was a turning point. After struggling to find his timing initially he took a liking to the UCVC bowling. A string of boundaries meant his side needed 19 runs from the final over for an unlikely win.

Lawson did his best, scoring 16 runs from Hickman’s over, which included a no ball, but could only manage two from the final delivery, leaving UCVC to breathe a collective sigh of relief and celebrate a hard-earned victory.

Lawson ended unbeaten on 45 from 22 balls.

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