Comfortable wins to Wairau Valley and Celtic marked the opening round of Marlborough senior club cricket on Saturday.
Both winning teams chased down mediocre totals in 50-over encounters. Valley beat Renwick by eight wickets on Horton Park one, while Celtic overcame Wairau by five wickets on No 3.
In the first game Renwick struggled to put together any partnerships of substance in their total of 130 from 36.1 overs, their best effort being a 27-run collaboration between Luke Frankland and Akhil Pant for the second wicket. Frankland scored 18, Pant 19 with Renwick’s top score coming from No 4 batsman Corey Bovey, who amassed a patient 33 from 73 deliveries while wickets fell around him.
All the Valley bowlers picking up at least one wicket. Skipper Matthew Stretch led the way with 4-33 from 8.1 overs, while newcomer Bailey Andrews-Kennedy showed he will be a handy addition with 3-48 from nine overs. Sam Boyce, Michael Dillon and Joel Pannell were the other bowlers used, picking up a wicket apiece and conceding very few runs.
Valley’s reply of 131-2 was shaped around the efforts of Chris Bartholomeusz, a former Hawke Cup player for Canterbury Country and Nelson, who opened the batting and showed fine timing as he put together an unbeaten 47.
Fellow opener Ben Ivory-McCullum and No 3 Patrick Moran went cheaply but Stretch ensured there would be nervous moments, batting positively to register an unbeaten 39 from just 31 balls, bringing the game to an end in the 26th over.
The miserly Mike Anstiss and wicket-taker Jacob Zillwood were the pick of the Renwick attack.
Meanwhile, on the adjoining ground, Celtic managed a potentially tricky early season run chase comfortably, running down Wairau’s 159 for the loss of five wickets in the 33rd over.
Wairau’s total was built around a patient unbeaten 83 from 134 balls from Andrew McCaa, Tim Petrie’s 18 and 33 extras the other main contributors.
Medium-pacer Matt McCormick led the Celtic attack with 3-25, while Jaden Adams snared 2-20. Josh Poole and Jerrym Lamb were the other wicket-takers.
Their reply was based around half centuries to opener John Porter and Poole. They combined for a 98-run second wicket partnership which ended any hopes Wairau may have had of putting pressure on the batting side. Porter ended with 53 from 82 balls, Poole with 52 from 59, striking nine fours across a slow outfield.
Nick Weaver, with 2-25 from 7.5 overs, was the pick of the Wairau attack, along with Chris Turkington who grabbed 1-26 from seven.
Two more rounds of club 50-over games will be played before the final on November 7.