Leeston-Southbridge can relax over the festive break at the top of country cricket after a hard-fought close win over Lincoln at the weekend as well as skittling Plesant Point in the National T20 Club Champs.
Harry Chamberlain’s fine 2019/20 CRV Ambreed Country Premier One Day season continued with a match-defining, run-a-ball 62 at Lincoln Domain on Saturday.
It was the dominant innings of Leeston-Southbridge’s first innings of 184/9 in their allotted 45 overs.
Chamberlain, who enjoyed a 500-run off-season playing in Darwin, was again in the game with the ball, grabbing key top-order wickets and helping reduce Lincoln to 34/3 in their chase.
Middle-order batsman Liam Robinson gave Lincoln a sniff of victory, with a fine 51 off 89 balls.
After he was dismissed, the tail wagged valiantly but the defending champions held their nerve to secure a 10-run win, as Lincoln stalled at 174/9 after 45 overs.
At Southbrook Park, the home side thumped Weedons by eight wickets to keep in touch with the competition leaders.
Imposing new ball attack Sam Ermerins and Arafat Bhuiyan knocked off Weedons’ quality top-order before Darryn Boyle rattled through the middle order.
Limping to 132 all out in 40 overs, it was never going to be enough and the ‘Brook coasted home, largely thanks to an impressive unbeaten 93 by Matt Boyle, whose innings included 17 fours and two sixes, and came off just 65 balls.
A stunning, mammoth innings of 165 from Rhys Mariu lifted Oxford-Rangiora to a superb 26-run win over Cheviot on Saturday.
Mariu, fresh from being named in the 15-man New Zealand Under-19 squad to compete in the Cricket World Cup 2020 in South Africa in January-February, was ruthless in demolishing the Magpies’ attack.
Oxford-Rangiora made an imposing 279/5 in their 45 overs and would prove too many for Cheviot to chase, despite a brilliant 97 from Ben Hartland.
Jake Waghorn ripped through Cheviot’s middle-order, snaring seven wickets and helping complete the strong victory.
Sefton got back to winning ways with a complete team performance in beating Darfield by 37 runs.
Eight batsmen in double figures, led by a quick-fire 40 from Canterbury paceman Fraser Sheat batting at number four, saw the Seals post 202 all out.
Zak Foulkes (55 runs off 74 balls) and Tim Boyle (52 off 69) got the chase off to a flying start, hoisting Darfield to a commanding 115/1 in 24 overs.
But when they both fell in quick succession, Darfield crumpled to be all out for 165, with Barry Cross the chief destroyer, claiming 4/27.
The competition now takes a break over the Christmas holidays and will resume with Round 9 on January 11.
Leeston-Southbridge 184/9 (H Chamberlain 62, W Macfarlane 26no, D Neal 23; E Paterson 2/10, J Williams 2/23, C Shalfoon 2/24, A Paterson 2/36) beat Lincoln 174/9 (L Robinson 51, D McClelland 39, R Sporke 24; D Neral 3/35, H Chamberlain 3/39, T Gruijters 2/34).
Weedons 132 (J Watson 27; D Boyle 3/31, A Bhuiyan2/21)lost to Southbrook 133/2 (M Boyle 93no).
Oxford-Rangiora 279/5 (R Mariu 165, S Yorston 34, D Fulton 31no) beat Cheviot 239/9 (B Hartland 97, T Whelan 53; J Waghorn 7/36).
Sefton 202 (F Sheat 40, C Warner 25, B Fleming 24, C Simpson 23; R Hughes 4/33T Kars 3/30, Z Foulkes 2/29) beat Darfield 165 (Z Foulkes 55, T Boyle 52; B Cross 4/27, C Simpson 3/21, J Roberts 2/25).