Leeston-Southbridge strolled to top spot in country cricket’s T20 competition with two dominant displays over the weekend.
The combined side qualified top of the CRV Ambreed Country Premier T20 Competition 2018/19, earning a semi-final match-up with Weedons who beat Southbrook in a nail-biter to claim the fourth and last finals place.
In the other semi-final – which will be held on March 16, with the final to be played later the same day – Cheviot will play Oxford-Rangiora who secured two wins on Saturday.
In Oxford-Rangiora’s first of two games, they batted first against Sefton at Mandeville.
Luke Waghorn (53 runs off 34 balls) and David Fulton (39 off 28) capitalised on a solid start to raise their side to a commanding 167 all out in 19.5 overs.
Josh Jones’ medium pace returned four wickets, while Nigel Granger grabbed three, but ill-discipline in bowling 18 wides let Sefton down.
Sefton never really threatened the target of 168 and stumbled to 131/6 to lose by 36 runs.
Oxford-Rangiora then went on to wallop Kaiapoi by six wickets, chasing down their 87/8 in just 13.2 overs.
Leeston-Southbridge continued their fine form with two cruisy victories, set up by classy batting from their representative players.
Against Kaiapoi, they racked up 158/4 in their allotted 20 overs, with Rupert Young top-scoring with 47 runs. Harry Chamberlain (36 off 24 balls), Joel Harden (32 off 21) and Ben Chamberlain (27 off 18) all blasted at strike-rates around 150 to set up the total that proved far too many for struggling Kaiapoi who fell 75 runs short.
Leeston-Southbridge then dispatched Sefton by 48 runs, with the top-order again firing. Young made 61 off 52 balls while Harden carved 89 runs off just 59 balls, helping with combined XI through to 166/3.
Sefton crumbled to be all out for 118, with young Ben Donkers and Chamberlain both claiming the identical figures of 3/19 off their four overs.
Southbrook beat Darfield in their first game, but then chasing 170 to beat Weedons, the ‘Brook fell an agonising four runs short, eventually costing them a semi-finals berth.
Image credit: Mak Sports Photography