SPCL champions-elect BAT defeat all-star Lashings
Dan Goldstraw hit three sixes off the last seven balls as BAT Sports pulled off a thrilling two-wicket triumph over the Lashings international all-stars at Southern Gardens.
Goldstraw's six-hit salvo sent the internationals crashing to their first defeat of the season and provided a marvellous climax to a superb day's entertainment for the crowd of over 1,000.
Set to score 221 to win in 50 overs by former West Indies captain Ritchie Richardson, BAT got home in the nick of time - with just one ball to spare !
The BAT performance received glowing praise from everyone involved with Lashings, particularly recently retired Australia Test star Mark Waugh, whose century lit up the afternoon's entertainment.
"They were undoubtedly the best bowling side I've faced while I've been playing in these Lashings games - and that includes a few county teams.
"And, having watched them successfully chase a 220-run target, I'd go as far as to say they're probably the best overall team we've played as well," said Waugh after the match.
If the BAT run chase kept everyone on their toes after tea, Waugh's 106 was undoubtedly the highspot of the afternoon.
The Aussie star gave the bumper crowd a 90-minute long reminder of the trademark classic strokes which yielded over 8,000 Test runs in 125 appearances under the green baggy cap.
His 106 included two sixes and 16 fours - a succession of sweetly timed cover drives and delicate clips off his legs.
Having reached his century, Waugh provided teenager Ricky Rawlins with a steepling catch, which gave his father Terry - BAT's very own cricket legend - a wicket he'll cherish for ever !
Waugh was one of eight internationals in the Lashings team, which included West Indies stars Jimmy Adams and Ritchie Richardson, Zimbabwe duo Grant Flower and Stuart Carlisle, and Chris Harris, the New Zealand World Cup all-rounder.
Apart from Waugh, Carlisle (32) and Barbados opener Sherwin Campbell (47) were the only Lashings batsmen to make their mark as the All Stars were dismissed for 220 in 38.4 overs.
The way BAT pair Neal Parlane (50) and Damian Shirazi (34) opened up, the contest looked like being all over inside 20 overs.
Parlane, who needs another 100 runs to beat Robin Smith's all-time Southern League scoring record, struck boundaries in all directions - including one enormous six which cleared the adjoining railway line !
The pair's 91 runs in 13 overs provided the ideal platform for BAT to launch their victory assault.
Grant Flower and Chris Harris checked the BAT scoring and hauled Lashings back into the contest.
But Ricky Rawlins (31) re-ignited the fuse with a timely mid-innings 31, which included two memorable sixes off Waugh.
Once Rawlins departed, though, it looked as though BAT might fall short of their target.
But Goldstraw, whose Premier League bowling feats have captured the headlines more than once in the past few seasons, is no mug with the bat.
Twice in the penultimate over he hoisted sixes over mid-wicket - one comfortably clearing the pavilion - to take BAT to 212-8 at the start of Harris's final over.
Chris Thomason and Goldstraw chiselled three runs off the New Zealander's initial four deliveries to leave BAT needing six to win off two balls.
Goldstraw did it in one - moving right across his stumps to hoist the World Cup star from outside off and over the long-leg boundary for the match-winning six ! It was a perfect climax to a superb afternoon's entertainment.