South Canterbury fell to a 37-run loss to Otago Country in their Hawke Cup elimination cricket match at Aorangi Oval yesterday.
Needing an outright victory for a mathematical chance at a cup challenge, South Canterbury were chasing the game from the moment Otago Country posted 275 after being asked to bat following a three-hour delay to dry the field on day one.
Otago Country’s top score was 44, but they had few failures with the bat.
South Canterbury’s Kevin Teahen wrapped up the tail to end with four for 26.
The batsmen failed to respond and after being fortunate to avoid the follow-on, South Canterbury declared their first innings at 185 for nine, 30 minutes before lunch, electing to give their bowlers a chance to knock the visitors over cheaply, and chase a target.
They restricted Otago Country to 128 all out, leaving themselves 219 to win from 48 overs, but none of the South Canterbury top-order could produce the big score required.
South Canterbury got themselves back into the game after a tactical change after lunch yesterday.
They took a punt on the spin of Sam Carlaw and Bill Walsh and it paid dividends, as Otago Country lost 10 wickets for 81 runs.
Walsh took five for 51 from 20 overs, while Carlaw was just as dangerous at the other end, claiming four for 34 from 13.1 overs.
South Canterbury lost Craig Davies (1) on the fourth ball of the run chase thanks to Otago Country captain Brendan Domigan, who had claimed five wickets in the first innings.
Captain Richie Preston (27) tried to keep the run-rate climbing, as an out-of-sorts Bill Walsh (28) looked to find his feet against a bowling attack which got the ball to seam and swing all match.
Glenn Matthews made a brisk 38 to go with his run-a-ball 65 in the first innings, his best ever score for South Canterbury, but when he departed, with the score at 122 for six, the chase became too much. Mark Tutton made 45 not out to get some respectability in the final losing margin.
Eric Standfield bowled his medium pace uninterrupted in the South Canterbury second innings, finishing with four for 80 from 22.4 overs, while Cameron Rutherford snared four for 51 from 13 overs as South Canterbury were dismissed for 181 with three overs remaining.
South Canterbury coach Bruce Carlaw said Otago Country, who grabbed their first win of the season, had been the toughest team they had faced.
He said his team failed to break the Otago Country batting partnerships on day one and then failed to build any of their own with the bat.
“Our inability to get them out in the first innings [cost us]; we were bowling both sides of the wicket.
“We didn’t seemed focused. I was a wee bit disappointed with how we went into the match, it didn’t seem right to me, but they batted very well, and were quite impressive.
“What is rather evident is that these [South Canterbury] guys aren’t used to facing a ball that is moving … They’re not used to accurate bowling, they really struggle with that.
“There are some talented cricketers here, but they are not being pushed at club level and they are struggling here because the step up is too great.”
Carlaw also had one eye on the future.
“We can compete with these sides with our bowling and our fielding and we can compete with our lower-order batting.
“It is our top-order batting which needs addressing.
“We need batsmen who can score runs. Where we can get them from? I don’t know,” Carlaw said.
“I think we need three batsmen who can score runs for us and at the moment we just aren’t able to do it.”
He said he was rapt with the fight shown by the spinners and said “that got us back into the game”.
Southland have gained the Hawke Cup challenge from the southern zone.