South Canterbury did not take the initiative so Southland accepted it with open arms on the first day of their Hawke Cup cricket match at Aorangi Oval today.
South Canterbury captain Sam Carlaw strangely chose to bowl on a flat deck under sunny skies at the Oval.
The logic being, South Canterbury did not want their batsmen to get rolled for a low total and hand the advantage completely to Southland.
This meant that once Carlaw elected to bowl at the toss, their advantage was gone.
Southland piled on 458 for five declared, on the back of a double century from Australian import Ryan Meyer (206 not out) and a century from Jason Domigan (127).
South Canterbury showed weakness in their bowling stocks.
Left-arm opening quick, Craig Hinton was unavailable after getting married the day before and veteran Simon Murphy chose to retire before the game despite being named in the team.
Southland soon took advantage.
Opener Simon Wadworth blazed 56 against Woods and Kevin Teahen.
Woods bowled 12 overs in a row and Teahen 10, in long spells in energy-sapping heat.
Once Carlaw finally turned to spin, it paid dividends.
Nick Horsley removed Wadworth in his first over of spin, while Carlaw grabbed Shaun Fitzgibbon for four.
Southland were then 120 for three.
That soon changed as Domigan and Meyer combined to add 269 runs for the fourth wicket at over four runs an over.
South Canterbury did drop Meyer twice, once on 77 by wicket-keeper Jacob Naylor, and a tough caught and bowled chance to Carlaw when he was on 84.
Meyer, to his credit, made them pay.
Runs were scored at will, and the pitch lived up to Aorangi Oval’s reputation for being a paradise for batsmen.
The South Canterbury bowlers tried to get something out of the deck, but they quickly ran out of ideas and the pair scored with ease.
None of the eight bowlers used by Carlaw looked threatening until Domigan was out after an innings where he struck 21 fours.
Meyer, a former Australian Under 19 representative pressed on after tea to get his double ton.
His 206 took 275 balls and included 26 fours and four sixes.
The declaration came, and South Canterbury were subjected to 14 overs late in the day.
Craig Davies survived just five balls before he was bowled by Mark Beer for a duck.
Ritchie Preston (35) and night watchman Naylor (10) scrambled through to 45 for one by stumps.
South Canterbury still trail by 413 runs and have it all in front of them tomorrow.
A gallant century from Ritchie Preston could not undo the damage of the first day as South Canterbury lost on the first innings to Southland in their Hawke Cup cricket match over the weekend.
Preston was conservative, playing against his natural instincts in an effort to bat out the 90 overs left on day two for a draw, at Aorangi Oval.
His innings of 105 off 232 balls and almost five hours in length, was ended by a poor umpiring decision – give out leg-before-wicket when he clearly hit the ball.
It meant South Canterbury had to survive the last hour of play with their last pair, Ben Watson and Kevin Teahen, to maintain a share of the points.
The duo batted bravely for 56 minutes but came up 27 balls short, all out for 249 in 95.3 overs
But Southland deserved their spoils. Given the gift of being able to bat first on a flat pitch by South Canterbury captain Sam Carlaw, the Southland batsmen made the rookie captain regret his decision.
Southland piled on 458 for five declared on the back of a double century from Australian import Ryan Meyer (206 not out) and a century from Jason Domigan (127).
They then had South Canterbury 45 for one at stumps on the first day.
Southland continued to press after a two-hour rain delay to the start of yesterday’s play.
They removed Jacob Naylor (10), James Laming (4) and the prized wicket of Nick Horsley (25), within the first hour to have South Canterbury 86 for four.
After Carlaw departed for nine, Preston finally found support in Timaru captain Zane Sanders.
The pair batted for more than 90 minutes to frustrate the visitors.
Then Sanders threw his wicket away three balls after tea and Sam Porter (1) did not last long.
Matt Woods (2) lasted for a while and when No 10 Teahen joined his mate, Preston, there was still hope with 25 overs to go.
Preston was removed by Southland’s opening bowler Mark Beer (four for 68), who had ripped through the top order and then claimed the big scalp, even if it was with the help of the umpire.
South Canterbury fought bravely, Watson made 34 as he and Teahen frustrated Southland, until Teahen was trapped in front by the spin of Michael Gratton, who had toiled for 28.3 overs to return figures of two for 35.
South Canterbury’s next game is against Mid Canterbury, in Ashburton, on February 16-17.