Celtic take cricket ti­tle

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - PETER JONES

Biddy Kate’s Celtic stepped back into the win­ners cir­cle on Sat­ur­day with an as­sured per­for­mance in the fi­nal of the SBS Bank Marl­bor­ough 50-overs com­pe­ti­tion at Hor­ton Park.

Af­ter miss­ing out on any tro­phies last sea­son, Celtic showed they are a force to be reck­oned with in 2017-18, down­ing Sileni Es­tates Ren­wick by five wick­ets through a com­pre­hen­sive team per­for­mance.

Af­ter win­ning the toss and de­cid­ing to bowl first, Celtic’s con­sis­tently ac­cu­rate at­tack and sharp field­ing had their ri­vals be­hind the eight ball from the out­set. When they were dis­missed for just 127, Ren­wick re­quired a mi­nor mir­a­cle to deny Celtic’s long and po­tent bat­ting line-up but it wasn’t forth­com­ing as the Green and Golds eased their way to the tar­get in the 29th over.

Af­ter be­ing in­serted, Ren­wick strug­gled to pro­duce any part­ner­ships of note. They had lost both open­ers with just 17 runs on the board as Celtic’s open­ing bowler Matt McCormick op­er­ated with good pace and move­ment to pick up the scalps of Luke Fran­k­land and Dustin Emms-Healey. The ar­rival of the in-form Pra­bodha Arthavidu to join opener Hay­den Gaudin stead­ied the ship but when the Sri Lankan was caught be­hind off the bowl­ing of Celtic skip­per Jer­rym Lamb, a de­ci­sion that did not ap­pear to please Arthavidu, alarm bells were be­gin­ning to ring in the Ren­wick camp. The loss of Gaudin four overs later to a run out merely com­pounded their woes.

How­ever, this brought to­gether Ja­son Camp­bell and Corey Bovey and saw their best part­ner­ship of the match. The pair bat­ted pos­i­tively, putting their side’s pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion to one side, Camp­bell belt­ing five fours in his 28 and Bovey three fours and a six in his 24. But just as they were be­gin­ning to es­tab­lish some sort of dom­i­nance their 35-run part­ner­ship was ended. Im­me­di­ately af­ter drinks Camp­bell flicked the ball onto the leg side where Ben Black­man took a su­perb catch div­ing for­ward.

As the scor­ing rate dried up, Josh Poole stepped in, the left arm spin­ner pick­ing up Mark Zill­wood’s wicket, then the key scalp of Bovey with a su­perb de­liv­ery that de­ceived the all­rounder.

From there it was just about bat­ting out the re­main­ing overs but wick­ets con­tin­ued to fall and when Richie Dick­ens was trapped in front by Pet­ros Kapra­los to end Ren­wick’s in­nings they had only 127 runs to defend.

Poole’s 4-38 was the pick of the Celtic bowl­ing fig­ures, earn­ing him man of the match hon­ours, but theirs was very much a team ef­fort, McCormick and Black­man me­nac­ing at the start, Lamb and Gand­harv Sharma ac­cu­rate and prob­ing through the mid­dle stages.

Celtic’s open­ing part­ner­ship of Black­man and John Porter have been in fine form this sea­son and set up their side’s run chase well.

Bat­ting pos­i­tively they blunted the early Ren­wick at­tack to carry their side through to 39 be­fore Black­man played on to Arthavidu for 19. Poole joined Porter and the pair added an­other 20 runs be­fore Porter, 25, fell to Bovey. Then Poole and Lamb com­bined for an­other 23 runs, the ex­pe­ri­enced duo look­ing as­sured and com­fort­able be­fore Poole was caught be­hind, the sec­ond of Bovey’s three scalps.

When he had Lamb dropped at mid on dur­ing his next over it seemed Ren­wick’s slim chance had gone, but Bovey slipped the next ball through the Celtic skip­per’s de­fences to again raise hopes at 91-4. How­ever Lan­don Neal and Reuben Kepes held their nerve to push Celtic to­wards their tar­get. The ad­di­tion of five penalty for dis­sent by Ren­wick play­ers af­ter an um­pir­ing de­ci­sion went against them merely helped Celtic’s cause as they wrapped the game up with 21.9 overs to play.

Celtic skip­per Jer­rym Lamb was happy to see Celtic’s name back on the hon­ours board. ‘‘We have had a cou­ple of lean years so we were pretty de­ter­mined to start the sea­son well. Hav­ing such a good core group of play­ers we knew we would be a com­pet­i­tive side so we are glad to fin­ish the first part of the sea­son well.

‘‘We have been in the po­si­tion be­fore where we made a fi­nal un­beaten through the round robin and not put in a per­for­mance on the fi­nals day so we are really pleased.’’

Lamb put his side’s ef­fort in the field down to do­ing the sim­ple things well. ‘‘We just tried to bowl one side of the wicket and cre­ate pres­sure through dots. The boys at the top did that well and Josh [Poole] stran­gled them well from the pavil­ion end.’’

He said the main ob­jec­tive in the run chase was ‘‘just not los­ing a clus­ter of wick­ets . . . we didn’t do that. We man­aged to keep build­ing. It wasn’t as ef­fi­cient as we would have liked but lit­tle part­ner­ships were enough in the end.’’

RICKY WIL­SON/STUFF

Josh Poole’s four wick­ets helped set up his side’s vic­tory over Ren­wick on Sat­ur­day.

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