South Canterbury’s stand-in coach John Davies said hopes of a Hawke Cup challenge this season had “just about gone” after a 10-wicket defeat to Southland in a second-round elimination cricket match in Invercargill, yesterday.
The result means Southland have all but wrapped up the southern zone challenge thanks to three outright wins this season.
A disrupted buildup was continued for South Canterbury when captain Richie Preston was unable to make the trip south due to illness. His absence further compounded the lack of depth in the team, with five senior players and the two coaches choosing to attend a wedding on Saturday, instead of playing in the match.
The reshuffled top order failed to fire after being asked to bat in bowler-friendly conditions by Southland captain Jason Domigan. Davies said the overcast, drizzly conditions on Saturday, coupled with a pitch which had a green tinge meant the ball was “doing plenty”.
South Canterbury soon found themselves at 23 for five.
Southland’s Ronnie Kotcamp took the first three wickets to fall on his way to five for 32.
Tahir Afridi (69 not out) was the only batsman to tame the conditions and the Southland bowlers.
He found slight support from debutant Zane Sanders (20), as the pair shared in a 47-run sixth-wicket partnership.
Davies said Afridi flourished because he was aggressive with his stroke-making.
“He really went for his shots if the ball was outside the off-stump.
“Some of the other guys tried to be defensive and it didn’t work.”
Southland made it to 81 for four by stumps on the first day, with Domigan 32 not out.
Dropped catches haunted South Canterbury on day two yesterday.
Davies said they could have had Southland 111 for eight had they not grassed at least four chances.
Rhuebyn Pratley topscored for Southland with 42, while Domigan made 39.
Southland made 186 all out, a lead of 63 runs.
Temuka veteran Kevin Teahen used his nagging medium pace to great effect in ideal conditions.
He took four for 44 from 14.4 overs, while Craig Hinton took three wickets.
South Canterbury’s batting woes did not improve in their second innings.
They were 52 for two before they lost six for 30 in the middle stages.
At 82 for eight, Davies admitted the match was over as a contest.
Stand-in captain Bill Walsh made 18, while Willie Wright top-scored with 29.
Mark Beer took five for 35 for Southland, as South Canterbury were skittled for 113.
Southland raced to their small target without the loss of a wicket, reaching 57 for none in 7.3 overs.
Davies said he was happy with how all of the bowlers performed in the first innings.
He said he hoped the experience would be good for some of the younger players as they looked to force their way in to the regular team
South Canterbury’s next match is against Mid-Canterbury at Aorangi Oval on February 18 and 19.