Shock and disappointment echoed through South Canterbury cricket captain Dan Laming’s voice as he spoke of a game which got away.
The South Canterbury batsmen imploded again, against Mid-Canterbury, during their eight-wicket Hawke Cup round-robin defeat to their northern rivals.
The result leaves their aspirations of a Hawke Cup challenge floundering.
Laming said the Ashburton pitch played as expected, saying “it was hard to bat on” and took a lot of turn.
South Canterbury were first to find out just how tricky it would be.
Coming off a disappointing first innings effort of 213 against North Otago, the hope was someone in the top-order would get in and stay there. Unfortunately, according to Laming, there were just a lot of starts.
James Laming made 46, while Richie Preston managed 33 and Craig Davies 25, in a total of 209.
“All mostly starts again”, Laming said. “It was bloody tough to bat on though.”
As well as the Mid-Canterbury bowling attack had done in utilising the conditions, it was now up to the “green and black” bowlers to make amends, and so they did, leaving Mid-Canterbury 120 for 6 at stumps, on day one.
The visitors had to work hard for a crucial first innings lead, and the competition points which go with it, but they got there, dismissing the hosts for 202.
Kevin Teahen was his ever-consistent self taking three wickets, while the spin of Davies nabbed him a treble and Sam Carlaw picked up two.
It was all downhill from there though, South Canterbury slumped back in to defence-mode with the bat early, at 2 for 2.
It did not get any better, as they were rolled for just 62.
Mid Canterbury knocked off the 69 runs required, with ease, leaving Laming searching for answers.
“It was just one of those innings’ which happen every now and again, and hopefully won’t happen again for a long time.
“We have some really top-quality batsmen at the top our order and it’s just a matter of someone getting a century, which I’m sure someone will, eventually.
“It basically leaves us pushing up hill,” he said. “We need outright results now.”
The team has a week off before they travel to Alexandra to take on Central Otago, after which they will come back to Aorangi Park and face Southland in late January.
Laming admitting forcing outright wins, against quality opposition and placid pitches, would be a challenge.