The South Canterbury cricket team secured a four-wicket outright win in its Hawke Cup match against Mid Canterbury yesterday, but questions still remain over the batting.
Both teams struggled to adjust to a greener than usual Aorangi Oval pitch and runs proved hard to come by, with only three half-centuries all match.
An unbeaten 54 from South Canterbury captain Richie Preston steered the home team to victory, in pursuit of 96.
Again it was the bowlers who produced the big moments.
English import Tahir Afridi took five for 16 in the first innings, while Glenn Matthews took four.
Mid Canterbury staggered through to 120 all out, thanks to Tom Meyrick’s unbeaten 53 which got them out of trouble at 35 for eight.
South Canterbury’s reply was anchored by Craig Davies’ 67.
His partnership of 66 with Mark Tutton (36) was described by assistant coach Robin Beeby as a pivotal point in the match.
South Canterbury managed a lead of 55 in the first innings despite Beaven Ravenscroft’s seven for 57 for the visitors.
After an hour’s delay at the start day two yesterday, South Canterbury were able to dismiss Mid Canterbury for 150.
The effort was thanks to Matthews four for 45 and Afridi’s three for 68.
The run chase was a nervy one.
Wickets fell regularly, but the always free-flowing Preston tried to maintain his natural game.
Bill Walsh (zero and three) and former captain Dan Laming (five and zero), failed in both innings.
Tutton (12) eventually held up an end long enough for South Canterbury to get in front of the game.
Preston’s 54 came off 81 balls with seven fours.
Beeby said the batting remained a concern.
“There is still work to be done on the batting, obviously, but it is across the board – there are low scores in all of this Hawke Cup elimination group.
“I don’t know if it’s a mindset, but it’s getting the adjustments done for the individuals for the batting conditions.”
Beeby said that despite the issues with some of the top order, Tutton had impressed him. “I don’t think there will be much of a change.
“That partnership in the first innings [between Davies and Tutton] was really a match-winning one.
“Even Tutton, in the second innings showed the same kind of application, even though he didn’t score high, he was there for quite a while,” Beeby said.
Sam Carlaw was ill on the second day and took no part in the action.
Beeby hoped Carlaw would be available for selection for the match against Otago Country this weekend.