South Canterbury travelled to Oamaru to take on North Otago in their final one day match before the Hawke Cup competition begins, and as well as a further chance for players to press claims for the final rep team, there was also the matter of improving on last season’s showing when South Canterbury were well beaten by 43 runs.
North Otago won the toss and decided to bowl first and with Craig Davies out with only one run on the board, North Otago would have been feeling pleased with their decision. However, Jeremy Liddy and Grant Brookland had different ideas as they put together a 96 run partnership before Brookland was out for 37 and then 3 runs later Liddy after reaching his 50 in the classic double breakthrough.
James Laming was joined by Matt Barnes, but the young English pro could not reproduce his Saturday form and South Canterbury was battling at 118-4 after 37 overs. Laming who seems to relish ‘back-to-the-wall’ opportunities set about building the team’s total, scoring at a good rate but lost partners Sam Carlaw and Matt Mealings quickly before Tom Walsh joined him and displayed his talent as a young all rounder. The pair added 69 runs from the last 7 overs with Laming left unbeaten on 60 off only 70 balls (including 3 sixes), and Walsh was even more severe on the bowling attack as he scored 40 not out off only 23 deliveries which included 5 fours and 2 sixes.
223 runs in the book meant South Canterbury had something to defend, and with skipper Todd Elliotte having the luxury of eight frontline bowlers in the line-up, any bowler having an off day could soon be replaced.
There was no need to worry though as Kevin Teahen quickly proved that line and length is a proven method, and he proceeded to pick up 4 of the top order batsmen cheaply including Duncan Drew, North Otago’s premier batsman and finished his spell with 4-19. At the other end fellow opening bowler Craig Hinton bowled tightly with less luck to take 1-19.
Tom Walsh and Ben Dunbar went unrewarded in their spells, but the spin duo of Todd Elliotte with 3-32 including the two top scorers and Sam Carlaw who was rewarded with two lbw decisions in his brief spell of two overs two wickets for one run were able to wrap up the innings.
North Otago had never got going and was dismissed for 120 with the best partnership only 38 runs, giving South Canterbury victory by 103 runs.
This has certainly given the selectors some options when the Hawke Cup team to play Southland is named on Wednesday, and no doubt there will be disappointment, but those that make the side will know they need to perform as with players yet to return from injury, and depth in most positions, a couple of failures could mean you are on the outer.