South Canterbury retained the Ron Biggar Memorial Trophy with a nine-run win over Mid Canterbury in their 50-over cricket match at Aorangi Oval.
South Canterbury coach Bruce Carlaw gave the performance a pass mark but admitted it was far from perfect.
The home team had moments of complete control with both bat and ball, only for things to fall away in the middle overs of both innings.
South Canterbury got off to a fast start, thanks to Richie Preston who was in no mood to hang around.
He raced through to 37 from 26 balls before he was bowled by Des Kruger. Jeremy Liddy joined his fellow opener in the pavilion three overs later.
Craig Davies, who has an average of 375 at club level, looked out of sorts scoring one off 16 balls.
Ed Kilbee and captain Dan Laming combined for 74-run fourth-wicket partnership.
Kilbee passed 50 and was looking to accelerate. He hit a four and a six off consecutive balls from Rhys Phillips, and tried to replicate it on the next ball but only managed to present an easy catch from a top-edge.
It sparked a middle-order collapse.
South Canterbury went from 150 for three to 156 for seven in the space of 27 balls, as Laming saw wickets tumble at the other-end.
He found support from Craig Hinton, and accelerated the score over 200 in the closing stages.
When he was dismissed for 66 with five overs remaining, South Canterbury had to readjust their target and look to bat out their overs, eventually making 227 for 9.
Opening bowler Richard Print finished with 2 for 38 from his 10 overs, while Phillips also impressed on a batsman’s wicket, taking 2 for 29 from his 10 overs.
Left-arm fast bowler Craig Hinton produced a terrific opening spell to bag three Mid Canterbury wickets early.
The first wicket in South Canterbury colours for Roncalli paceman Ben Watson had the visitors on the ropes at 34 for four.
After Hinton had bowled his 10 overs straight and conceded just 27 runs, his back-up seamers looked largely non-threatening.
Dan Laming, Kevin Teahen and spinner Davies all struggled early and Kruger and Dan Thomas went about rebuilding the innings.Kruger was eventually run out for 25, but Thomas continued to accelerate the scoring.
He found support in Richard Print (28) and Jono Print (30 not out).
Mid Canterbury needed six runs an over for the last 10 overs.
The key moment came when Thomas was caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Mark Tutton, after playing a needless shot, from the bowling of Sam Carlaw, for 74.
It was one of Tutton’s three catches on return to the top side.
South Canterbury had their noses in front from that point, and while Mid Canterbury fought until the last over, when they needed 15 runs, South Canterbury prevailed.
Bruce Carlaw said his middle-order batsmen suffered from poor shot selection.
“That comes from the added pressure.
“Some of the guys made some poor shot selections and I’m sure that is a result of them not being pressured at club level,” Carlaw said.
He said he was happy with the efforts of Watson and Hinton but said others needed to step up.
South Canterbury play Christchurch Suburban in a one-day match next weekend in Christchurch.