South Canterbury travelled to Ashburton for their latest round in the Hawke Cup to take on Mid Canterbury. With inclement weather forecast, winning the toss and asking them to bat first looked like the best way of maximizing points.

Early breakthroughs by opening bowlers Craig Hinton and Kevin Teahen meant the decision look to be paying dividends as Mid Canterbury were soon 13-3 and further slumped to 39-4 before Lyall Jemmett with 49 and the lower order all with double figures managed to get Mid Canterbury through to a respectable 161.

For South Canterbury Hinton was again the best of the bowlers taking 4-35, while Dan Laming and Teahen picked up 2 each, and Todd Elliotte and Alexander McKenzie (on debut) took one a piece.

Grant Brookland was promoted to cover the opening spot alongside Craig Davies, but the poor quality pitch soon had SC in trouble too, especially after Dan Thomas took a hat-trick to remove the first three SC batsmen and have Brookland, Danby and Dan Laming all back in the pavilion for with the total only 11. Liam Crowley followed shortly later and at 20-4 South Canterbury was up against it.

Davies was eventually out for 35, James Laming for 17, and Todd Elliotte for 20 but at 99-8 first innings points looked a long way off, and yet another Hawke Cup campaign appeared to be falling off the rails.

Someone forgot to tell Luke Taylor who knuckled down to score an unbeaten 43 runs batting at number nine, and with Teahen adding 22, SC managed to gain the all important first innings points, eventually being all out for 171. Thomas was the pick of the Mid Canterbury bowlers with 4-50 which included the hat-trick.

Mid Canterbury’s second innings was positive in intent as they set about establishing a lead and possibly setting South Canterbury a chase later in the day, but because of the poor wicket which was still seaming all over the place (Robert Madden who is probably the best Mid Canterbury batsman was out bowled in both innings shouldering arms), deciding what was a tempting target was not an easy task.

In the end they didn’t make a decision and instead South Canterbury dismissed them a second time for 167 runs with Teahen and Elliotte sharing the spoils with 3 wickets each.

South Canterbury decided to try for the outright by scoring the 158 required to win off 23 overs, but once the run chase got under way, SC quickly managed to turn the game in Mid Canterbury’s favour as wickets fell at an alarming rate. Davies with 20 was top scorer as the change in momentum had South Canterbury seemingly unable to rest the slide and at 49-7 looked like undoing all the good work in the first innings and losing outright.

As SC got deeper in trouble to be 51-8 and then 58-9 players were no doubt reflecting on how they had let it all go so horribly wrong, and losing a chance of turning next weekend’s match against Canterbury Country into a final, or even better of leading the competition on points, but bowlers Hinton and Teahen weren’t going to let all their own hard work go to waste as they both held on to be 0 not out and save face as South Canterbury walked away with a first innings win and not an outright loss.

This leaves South Canterbury 7 points clear of Canterbury Country going into next weekend’s match, although Country have one more match to play, so a good showing could give SC a chance of winning their section for the first time in 8 seasons.

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