A powerful Leeston-Southbridge outfit flexed its muscles to topple closest rivals Southbrook on Saturday and leap to the top of country cricket.
A trio of Chamberlain brothers conspired to defend a modest total and overcome a disappointing Southbrook run chase by 60 runs on the neutral Mandeville ground at Ohoka in the latest round of the CRV Ambreed Country Premier One Day Competition.
After being inserted at the toss, Leeston-Southbridge battled hard against a relentless bowling attack.
Canterbury Country representative Harry Chamberlain (26 runs off 45 balls), ex-Dutch international Tim Gruijters (33 off 43), and Rupert Young (20 off 29), brother of fringe Central Stags star Will Young, helped Lee-Bridge eek out a modest 141 runs before being bowled out in the 35th over.
Paceman Sam Ermerins was the pick of the ‘Brook bowlers with four wickets, while Darryn Boyle’s enticing outswingers snared three.
In reply, Southbrook was soon in trouble, with former Black Caps and Canterbury stalwart Shanan Stewart unable to make the combined side pay for an early drop, strangled down the leg side soon after for just 13.
Canterbury batsman Jack Boyle, backing up from his sparkling 92 in a losing cause against a powerful Auckland Aces at Hagley Oval the previous day, also fell cheaply, leaving Southbrook reeling at 24/3.
Reckless shots, an unwillingness to occupy the crease, and quality bowling saw the ‘Brook bundled out for just 81 runs inside 26 overs. Harry Chamberlain ripped out four wickets, while Ben Chamberlain got two, and Sam Chamberlain one.
The dominant win sees Leeston-Southbridge occupy the top spot, while Oxford-Rangiora continued to close its gap on the top pair with a massive 200-run win over struggling Lincoln.
At Lincoln Domain, the visiting Rangiora-Oxford batted first and rattled up 266 in 44.5 overs.
Josh Mariu top scored with a classy half-century, gaining ample support from the Waghorn brothers (Jake 37, Luke 41) and 45 from keeper-batsman David Fulton.
Lincoln showed little ability to stick around and were shot out for a disappointing 66 runs in just 19.3 overs.
Right-arm seamer Sam Fleming was chief destroyer, claiming 4/22, while Mitch Power took 3/5.
Sefton’s decline as competition mainstays continued on home soil on Saturday, thumped by Cheviot by 151 runs.
Ted Whelan anchored the Magpies’ first innings of 206/7 in its allotted 45 overs with 65 off 103 balls, allowing Chris Burnett (40 off 64) and Harry Fitzpatrick (37 not out) to bat around him.
The Sefton chase spluttered and never recovered, with Charlie Sidey ripping through them to grab a five wicket bag. Sefton were all out for 55 in 22.5 overs.
Leeston-Southbridge 141 (T Gruijters 33, H Chamberlain 26, R Young 20; S Ermerins 4/44, D Boyle 3/14) beat Southbrook 81 (H Chamberlain 3/5, B Chamberlain 2/13, T Burt 2/19).
Oxford-Rangiora 266 (J Mariu 50, D Fulton 45, L Waghorn 41, J Waghorn 37, M Power 27; A Paterson 3/49, C Shalfoon 2/44) beat Lincoln 66 (A Paterson 20; S Fleming 4/22, M Power 3/5).
Cheviot 206/7 (T Whelan 65, C Burnett 40, H Fitzpatrick 37no; C Warner 2/40) beat Sefton 55 (C Sidey 5/20, W Smith 2/5, S Sidey 2/8).