Ball hits century but Associates fail to peg back Renegades
Opener Matt Ball smashed the Evening Cricket League's fifth century of the season as The Associates narrowly failed to overhaul Renegades at the top of group one.
Renegades, the defending league champions, clung on to win the group by virtue of a superior run rate despite losing their second consecutive match by the narrow margin of three runs.
Group two leaders Tuff Dogs confirmed they will be crowned league champions for the first time since 2019 after defeating PHC by eight wickets to see off the persistent challenge of CV Chargers -- the only team to beat Tuff Dogs this season -- whose batters Piers Carr (twice), Matty Watson and Nik Lawton-Misra struck the earlier four centuries.
Improving KPMG beat De Wicketest by 61 runs after Alistair Lynch's half-century shepherded his side to 142 for one in a game reduced to 13 overs each.
Ball hit eight sixes and ten fours in his 108 not out as The Associates ran up 159 for four before Fine Leg Byes closed on 125 for four in reply in poor light, Will Stewart making 33 not out, Ricky Waldron, the captain, 32 and Melvin Best 30.
Simon Jones, captain of The Associates, said: "This was a fantastic knock by Bally. He hit the ball really cleanly and smashed it to all parts of Shelly Bay. It was great to watch."
He added: "We’re looking forward to the play-offs [knockout] now and hoping he can keep this rich vein of form going."
Fine Leg Byes finished bottom of group one and Waldron conceded: "It's been a disappointing season. We haven't been able to get a consistent core of players."
Terence Corday, Tuff Dogs' captain, scythed through the PHC batting with four for 28, limiting them to 116 for six in their 13 overs despite 37 from Antwan Russell and 28 not out from Dean Stephens, and then his younger brother Trevor struck an unbeaten 31-ball 62 to guide his side home with 11 balls to spare
Having lost to Bailey's Bay by three runs the previous week, Renegades also came up short against West XI whose captain, Jim West, led from the front with a brilliant knock of 84 in his side's 140 for five, Jarico Burt chipping in with 38.
Renegades replied with 137 for six, Ian Esterhuysen and Nathan Clarke the main contributors with 45 and 37 respectively.
"We were on track to chase it down, but one of their spinners [Sivakumar Senthamaraikannan] bowled an impressive wicket maiden in the second-to-last over which derailed us," said Ryan Miller, Renegades' captain.
Lynch cracked three sixes and five fours in his 38-ball 64 and Chris Moolman weighed in with 40 off 17, including a six and five fours, as KPMG put De Wicketest's attack to the sword.
Terry Sousa hit 35 as De Wicketest struggled to 81 for seven in reply, Craig Munden spearheading the KPMG attack with two for five.
"De Wicketest came out firing, hitting two boundaries but lost a wicket to the fourth ball, then lost two more wickets in the next three overs and were always chasing the game after that," Michael Campbell, the KPMG captain, said.
Shelly Bay (The Associates won toss): The Associates 159-4 (16 overs; Matt Ball 108 not out); Fine Leg Byes 125-4 (16 overs; Will Stewart 33 not out, Ricky Waldron 32, Melvin Best 30). The Associates beat Fine Leg Byes by 34 runs.
Shelly Bay (West XI won toss): West XI 140-5 (16 overs; Jim West 84, Jarico Burt 38); Renegades 137-6 (Ian Esterhuysen 45, Nathan Clarke 37). West XI beat Renegades by three runs.
Shelly Bay (KPMG won toss): KPMG 142-1 (13 overs; Alistair Lynch 64, Chris Moolman 40); De Wicketest 81-7 (13 overs; Terry Sousa 35). KPMG beat De Wicketest by 61 runs.
Shelly Bay (Tuff Dogs won toss): PHC 116-6 (13 overs; Antwan Russell 37; Terence Corday 4 for 28); Tuff Dogs 117-2 (11.1 overs; Trevor Corday 62 not out).