South Canterbury’s dream of earning back-to-back Hawke Cup challenges looks all but over after a first innings defeat to Southland in Invercargill yesterday.
With first innings points likely to decide who gets the challenge from the southern zone, the South Canterbury batsmen’s inability to make big scores was brutally exposed by the Southland bowling attack, who rolled the visitors for just 181 after they were asked to bat first.
Southland cruised past that target for the loss of just three wickets to put themselves in the driver’s seat with one round of games to go.
Southland made 250 in its first innings and South Canterbury were made to work hard just to save the game, being 79 for six before 89 from captain Jimmy Laming on a pulled hamstring helped them survive for a draw.
All of South Canterbury’s top six batsmen made it to double figures in the first innings but only two made it past 18 and none of them raised their bat for 50.
A four-ball spell where the visitors lost three wickets spelt danger for Robin Beeby’s team as they went from 129 for four to 129 for seven.
Jack Harper batted for almost three hours to make 49, while Glen Drake added 26, but once the middle order was skittled by Jonathan Hodson it was left to Nathan McNicol (32) and Ben Watson (11 not out) to give some semblance of respectability to the total.
Opening bowler Craig Smith who did most of the damage for Southland with six for 67 from 18 overs.
After an early breakthrough from Craig Hinton, Southland’s Sam Ward and Hamish O’Brien added 116 for the second wicket which all but sealed them the valuable first innings points.
At stumps on the first day Southland were 125 for two and pushed on from there yesterday morning.
Beeby said his team simply was not good enough with the bat and he stressed the importance of an outright against Mid Canterbury in the next match so they could at least put pressure on Southland.