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