Opener Michael Davidson came tantalisingly close to the first century of the Christchurch Metro premier grade season as champions Lancaster Park Woolston launched their title defence.

Davidson scored 97 at Garrick Park on Saturday before he was trapped leg before by Canterbury bowler Todd Astle on the first day of LPW's match with Old Boys Collegians. 

The left-hander struck eight fours in his 163-ball innings and put on 43 for the first wicket with Canterbury Kings Twenty-20 skipper Ronnie Hira, who made 25.

But no-one else managed more than Ryan McCone's 20 and LPW mustered only another 34 runs for the final four wickets after Davidson's dismissal to reach 206 off 59 overs.

Astle was the best of the Old Boys Collegians bowlers with four wickets for 60 off 17 overs, but Ben Brady also chipped in with three for 40.

Old Boys Collegians reached 142 for three wickets at stumps with Astle unbeaten on 57 and Hamish Walsh 34 not out.

McCone led the LPW attack with two wickets for 38 off 12 overs.

Fraser Sheat impressed with bat and ball for Marist Harewood against Burnside West University at Redwood Park.

He top-scored with 47 in Marist Harewood's paltry innings of 133 off 59.1 overs and then took three wickets  for 13 runs as BWU were bundled out for 84 after 31.2 overs. But Will Otte went one better with the ball, snaring three for 12 off seven overs. 

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BWU's Blake Coburn took four wickets for 32 in Marist Harewood's first innings. 

The home side were 24 for two at stumps in their second dig for an overall lead of 73.

It was another low scoring affair at Burwood Park where East Christchurch Shirley could only manage 129 off 40.3 overs before bowling rivals Riccarton out for 144 off 43.2.

Wicketkeeper Nick Johnston top scored for Easts with 42 at seven in the order  and Hamish Teale chimed in with 30 as Riccarton spinner Cole McConchie grabbed four wickets for 17 runs off 6.3 overs, including trapping Teale lbw.

Liam Bartholomeusz led Riccarton's innings with 36 in his first game since switching from Canterbury Country cricket. Easts' left-armer Nathan McNicol ripped through the Riccarton batting with the season's first five-wicket bag (5 for 25) off 17 overs.

Easts were 41 for 1 at stumps in their second innings with Canterbury batsman Leo Carter 41no.

Scottish import Dylan Budge showed no signs of jetlag after arriving in Christchurch the day before game to bolster the St Albans batting lineup. The Scot scored a valuable 43 as St Albans posted the highest runs tally of opening day at Sydenham Park.

They reached 247 for eight off 60 overs with Ben Langrope top scoring with an unbeaten 63 and Robbie Polson 55. That pair put on 107 runs for the fifth wicket before Polson was run out.

The Sydenham bowlers suffered during Saints' onslaughts, although Mitchell Gardner bagged three wickets and veteran ex-Black Cap Chris Harris and Tom Agnew both took two.

Harris was 28 not out as Sydenham reached 165 for the loss of four wickets following 53 by opener Finn Loader.

 - Stuff