George Deans was the toast of his Burger King Red Star teammates on Saturday after he scored a match-winning half-century to set up their 21-run victory over Levin Old Boys at Rathkeale Oval.
All-rounder Deans strode to the wicket, with Red Star 67–5 and teetering on the brink of posting an almost undefendable total, and the task looked even more forlorn when Jaco Vorster and Ethan Childs were sent back to the pavilion, leaving the home side battling at 74–7.
A mini partnership of 47 runs with Zach Anstis  added some respectability, and when Deans was dismissed for 58 [65 balls, including eight fours], Red Star were 146–9. Peter Sigvertsen and Patrick Wootton put on 13 for the final wicket, but 159 still looked short of what was needed against the defending Coastal Challenge champions.
Captain Robbie Anderson was pleased with the fightback after a rare failure of the top order but wasn’t confident Red Star had enough runs to defend with Levin Old Boys boasting arguably the competition’s strongest batting lineup. He also paid credit to the visitors’ opening bowling attack of Daemon Kaennett and Alex O’Malley in knocking over the in-form Red Star batters, including himself, Trey Bidois, Jake Jonas and Mark Steventon, cheaply.
“The top order were done by a little bit of sideways movement off the pitch and good bowling,” Anderson said,
“But ‘Deansie’ came in and smashed 58 and got us in a position that we could try and bowl at something, and then we just continued to take wickets, and they played dumb cricket shots, really.
“They were trying to blast their way home at the start, and it [the pitch] was a little bit tacky and slow, and we just managed to keep taking wickets and did it pretty easy in the end.”
Ethan Childs and Sigvertsen had Levin Old Boys on the back foot, taking two wickets each to have them reeling at 46–4.
The main resistance came from former Horowhenua-Kapiti captain Andre Halbert, who hit a quickfire 52 [46 balls, five fours and three sixes] and put on 55 with Curtis Maclachlan for the seventh wicket. But when Halbert fell, their remaining wickets tumbled quickly.
Anderson said the plan was to attack the opposite end to Halbert and deny him run-scoring opportunities and it paid off. He also praised his bowlers, with Childs and Sigvertsen working well in tandem at the top of the innings and Wootton picking up three late wickets.
The win sees Red Star retain their lead in the Coastal Challenge after four rounds, and with a game in hand on most other teams, two more wins could be enough to secure a valuable home semifinal.
Red Star 159 [George Deans 58, Nathan Elliott 23; Joel Bishop 4–31, Daemon Kennett 2–37, Alex O’Malley 2–34] beat Levin Old Boys 138 [Andre Halbert 52; Ethan Childs 3–29, Patrick Wootton 3–13, Pete Sigvertsen 2–40] by 21 runs.
Red Star 11; Whanganui United 9; Levin Old Boys 7; Kapiti Old Boys, Weraroa, Paraparaumu, Whanganui Marist 6.