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OLD HARARIANS' reign as the undisputed National First League champions looks set to come to an abrupt end following yet another defeat in Round Six of the 2001-02 season at Mutare Sports Club. On a weekend when wet weather took control, resulting in a couple of low-scoring matches, OH lost by a massive 162 runs.
The match was reduced to 45 overs each because of rain delay. The hosts batted first and made 237 for seven off their 45 overs with Leon Soma the leading scorer on 61 runs. Richard Simms (51) and Mark Burmester (52) weighed in with useful fifties against an OH attack that heavily relied on Ryan Butterworth and all-rounder Paul Strang, who took three wickets each. Strang, who returned home before the weekend after spending two weeks with the national team in Bangladesh, finished with three wickets for 47 off nine overs, while Butterworth took three for 51 off his nine overs.
The result saw Mutare retaining second position on the league while OH remained on the wrong end of the table. The champions are lying in 10th place after managing just two wins out of their six matches with just five rounds of matches remaining.
The shortest match of the season so far was witnessed at Old Georgians where the hosts humiliated winless Mac Club by ten wickets. Both innings lasted just 16.5 overs in 79 minutes. The Bulawayo-based Mac Club batted first and were dismissed for an embarrassing 22 in 13.5 overs with Gus Mackay claiming the first seven wickets for 12 runs off six overs. The visitors had a top score of six and five ducks.
Their bowling was no better off as they conceded 10 extras in less than two overs. OGs reached 24 for no loss in just 2.5 overs with Lance Maloch-Brown unbeaten on 11. OGs joined Mutare on 12 points but they are lying in third place because of an inferior net run rate while Mac Club are 11th with three points.
Universals posted the season's biggest innings total with an imposing 414/9 in 50 overs against Bulawayo Athletic Club. Neeten Chouhan led the batting with 95 runs with Ali Shah and H Adam both making 85. BAC were all out for 120 in 23.5 overs, but with the wet weather having forced the revision of their target, Universals' victory could only be by 158 runs.
Kwekwe Sports Club got it right this time with a comfortable 75-run home win over Alexandra. Number four batsman Terrence Duffin top-scored with 76 while Dave Houghton fell one short of a half-century as Kwekwe were all out for 214 in 50 overs. In reply Alexandra were bundled out for 139 in 40.2 overs, with Houghton taking five wickets for 34 off 10 overs.
Harare Sports Club beat Bulawayo Sports Club by two wickets in a low-scoring match. BSC were dismissed for 92 in 34 overs while HSC reached 94 for eight in 25 overs.
The match between leaders Takashinga and Queens could not be played due to water seeping under the covers at Eaglesvale School in the capital.