The Marlborough senior rep cricket team were left rueing a below-par batting performance in their first outing of the 2020-21 season.
Up against Buller in a 50-over clash at Horton Park on Sunday, the home side were soundly beaten by seven wickets.
Marlborough, who were inserted after the visitors won the toss, struggled their way to 107 in 29.5 overs, which the visitors chased down in quick time.
While the wicket was by no means hard and fast it was not as treacherous as the home side’s score suggested, merely being a little slow and difficult to score on early in one’s innings.
Buller’s attack was disciplined and economical, their bowlers targeting the wickets, resulting in four players being bowled and two adjudged lbw.
Losing makeshift opener Ben Ivory-McCullum from the first ball of the match set Marlborough on the back foot and they struggled to form partnerships of note thereafter.
No 3 batsman Tarin Mason hit out for 35 from 32 balls, skipper Matthew Stretch dug in, scoring 13 from 41 deliveries, while No 6 Akhil Pant played freely near the end, hitting 29 from just 28 balls, but there was limited contributions from the rest of the order.
The standout bowler for the visitors was medium pacer Ethan Slee, who bagged 5-28 from 7.5 overs. Fellow opener Sam Jope claimed 2-20 while the remainder of the attack – Alex Paterson, Troy Scanlon and John Noble – claimed a wicket apiece.
To have any chance of turning the match around Marlborough needed early wickets and, when Nick Weaver removed Scanlon with the score on 11, hopes were raised.
However, a 34-run partnership between James Richards and Andrew Duncan steadied the ship, then Duncan combined with Michael Grafton to bring the score level with Marlborough’s total in the 23rd over, before Duncan was dismissed for a match-high 57 from just 50 balls, with seven fours and three sixes.
Although Mason, Sam Boyce and Weaver picked up wickets, their side was well beaten, a lack of specialist batsmen coming back to haunt them.
Next up for the reps is a Newman Shield one-day challenge match in Nelson on November 15.
Meanwhile, the finalists in the Marlborough 50-over competition have been found, Wairau Valley and Celtic booking places in next week’s trophy decider on Saturday.
Heavy outfield conditions after overnight rain saw the final round-robin matches reduced to 35-over affairs.
At Oliver Park, Valley easily accounted for a weakened Celtic outfit, prevailing by 129 runs.
Wairau, who required a bonus point win to ease their way into the final, were also well beaten, losing by 50 runs to Renwick, who claimed their first win of the season at Horton Park.
Batting first Renwick battled their way to 143-8, Akhil Pant (48) and Corey Bovey (23) providing the bulk of the runs. Tim Petrie grabbed three wickets, Nick Weaver and Chris Turkington two apiece.
In reply Wairau struggled from the outset, No 9 batsman Cameron Collins their top scorer with 26 as they slumped to 93 all out in the 29th over. Nick Wilder with 3-14 was top wicket-taker, while Jacob Zillwood and Rikki Bovey both claimed a brace.
Valley racked up a handy total of 163 against Celtic, Bailey Andrews-Kennedy (40) and Tim Abrahams (38) top scoring.
Matt McCormick bowled well to claim 3-14 from his seven overs.
Celtic’s reply was finished in 13 overs, Andrews-Kennedy grabbing the stunning figures of 6-16, fellow opening bowler Joel Pannell picking up 3-12 as Celtic were dismissed for just 34.