Keith Pullman scored an unbeaten 97 for Marist Old Boys. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Lansdowne and Red Star will go into the final round of the Bidwill Cup on equal points after a tense penultimate round of matches on Saturday.

Red Star narrowly avoided an outright loss to Marist Old Boys at Park Sports No 1.

Marist Old Boys’ in-form opening batsman Keith Pullman was not out in the 90s with the team needing eight runs off the final over to pull off an upset victory.

Red Star called on all their experience, placing all the fielders on the boundary, thus restricting Marist to just six runs and a losing draw.

Red Star batted first and were quickly on the back foot when Nathan Elliott, who impressed with 104 the previous weekend, was bowled with the first ball of the match.

Fellow opener Richard French provided the backbone of the innings. His 86 was a mixture of patience and aggression, coming off 93 balls and including 14 fours.

French had good support from captain Peter Sigvertsen [30] in a fourth-wicket partnership of 72.

Their total of 209 did give Red Star the all-important three bonus points for passing 200. However, it was a total that was probably well short of a good score on the artificial pitch.

Marist got off to a solid start with Pullman and Jared van Deventer [23] having an opening stand of 60. Marist lost their second wicket at 96 and from then the innings stuttered along until it all came down to the final over with Marist
just falling short.

Pullman ended agonisingly short of a well-deserved century, hitting 10 fours and one six in his 97 not out.

For Marist Old Boys it ended the season of what could have been. They narrowly missed beating both Lansdowne and Red Star, and the points dropped in those games would have probably been enough to have secured the Bidwill Cup.

An over-cautious declaration probably cost Lansdowne outright points over the Red Star Seconds.

And once again it came down to a tense final over in which Lansdowne need two wickets for an outright victory. Enter Robbie Speers, who the previous weekend took 4-2 for an unlikely win over Marist Old Boys.

The leg spinner bowled an absolute peach of a ball to dismiss Grant Wootton for 51, leaving the last batsman, Dave Dale, to face the final five balls. On this occasion Speers was unable to find the right length and Red Star survived.

Batting first Lansdowne amassed a massive 331-9 declared off 50.2 overs. Reece Hannam was the individual star, with a hard-hitting 130 not out. He had good support from Nathan Chaney [64] in a 111-run fourth wicket partnership. The Lansdowne batting was aided by some woeful Red Star fielding, with at least eight catches dropped and some ordinary ground fielding.

The target of 332 was always going to be a big ask for Stars, and they set about avoiding an outright loss. Troy Burling [44], Wootton and Ojas Patel [38] were the best of their batsmen.

SCORES

Red Star 209 [R French 86, P Sigvertsen 30, A Sandhu 5-19, N Kapene 3-45] had a winning draw over Marist Old Boys 208-7 [K Pullman 97no, H Finlayson 3-86].

Lansdowne 331-9 decl [R Hannam 130no, N Chaney 64, R Speers 45] had a winning draw over Red Star Seconds 186-8 [G Wootton 51, Troy Burling 44]

PROVISIONAL STANDINGS

After four rounds

Lansdowne and Red Star 24 [both played 3 games], Marist Old Boys 23 [4], Red Star Seconds 9 [3], Greytown 8 [3].