After a fortnight’s break for most teams, Whanganui’s Premier 1 45-over competition resumes on Saturday with three sides taking a last roll of the dice to make the Top 2 final on December 16.
Property Brokers United lead the table on net run rate from Whanganui Collegiate 1st XI and Wanganui Vet Services Marist.
However, Collegiate still have a game in hand, yet to play their anticipated schoolboys’ clash with the Whanganui High School 1st XI who will also play their other “catch-up” match with bottom-of-the-table Matt Burke Engineering Marton Saracens next Saturday.
Unbeaten Collegiate have a win over Marist, who in turn defeated United.
Just behind those three teams are the Whanganui Renegades, who missed out on a crucial opportunity to secure further points when their WHS catch-up match was rained out on November 18.
This weekend Marist will want to set up their best chance of making the final when they travel to Centennial Park to face Saracens.
Eight members of the Marist club were in the Riverview Motel Whanganui team who have played the last two weekends at the park and secured a victory over Whitaker Civil Engineering Taranaki on Sunday.
Three of them – Nick Harding, Shaun O’Leary and Mark Fraser – scored half-centuries, while recalled bowler Connor O’Leary took a match-winning five-wicket haul.
However, no one knows Centennial Park better than Saracens – their leader Dominic Rayner having been praised for putting together a good wicket for the Furlong Cup representative games despite the weather.
Renegades will need to upend Whanganui Collegiate and hope an upset or two goes their way in the other games to secure their spot, as the sides meet at the school grounds.
On November 18, Renegades had WHS at 150-9 in the 37th over when the rain came down in the first innings, forcing play to be abandoned.
Matt Deighton got three wickets, while Jack and Ryan Donaldson took a pair each.
They will need to get on top of the young Collegiate batsmen early, with Tim O’Leary likely to be the key wicket.
WHS have a tough ask when they meet defending champions and veteran team United.
United have four players from last weekend’s successful Furlong Cup game – skipper Chris Sharrock, in-form batsman Carter Hobbs, opener Daniel Burgess and spinner James Woodford, although they are still having to make do without injured captain Greg Smith.
However, their ace so far this season, unavailable for representative cricket due to work, is Matthew Boswell, who has scored 238 runs at a strike rate of 138 and has been dismissed only once in the competition.
WHS will take a lot of confidence from last weekend’s Premier 2 Twenty20 round, where they won two games against Wicket Warriors Whanganui and Wanganui Old Boys-Tech, bowling both out for less than 100 to secure eight and 10-wicket victories.
Saturday also sees the next round of the P2 competition, with two games scheduled.
Draw - December 2
Whanganui High School 1st XI v Property Brokers United P1
Matt Burke Engineering Marton Saracens v Wanganui Vet Services Marist
Whanganui Collegiate 1st XI v Whanganui Renegades
Hunterville Hackers v Matt Burke Engineering Marton Saracens 2nd XI
Wanganui Old Boys-Tech v Wicket Warriors Whanganui
Whanganui Collegiate 2nd XI bt Hunterville Hackers by forfeit.
Bye: Property Brokers United P2, Kaitoke Knight Riders, Wanganui Vet Services Marist 2nd XI, Whanganui High School T20, Wanganui Renegades T20.