An improved second innings could not save South Canterbury’s Hawke Cup challenge falling short against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua at the weekend.
In the end the holders retained the trophy for minor association supremacy by five wickets.
For South Canterbury the loss of three wickets in the second over of the match without a run on the board was a blow they never really recovered from.
They were dismissed for 135 and Bay of Plenty then grabbed a 188-run advantage before South Canterbury batted again. To their credit it was a much better performance.
Former Northern Districts’ batsman Nick Horsley top-scored with 69, after a first-ball duck in the first innings.
Teenager Glen Drake also fared better in the second dig, making 47, while James Laming added 43 to his first innings of 80.
South Canterbury’s problem was that Laming was the only batsman to produce runs in both innings. His brother, Dan, batting at six, was left 64 not out at the end, leaving the Bay to chase down a minimal 88 for victory. But the hosts were made to work a lot harder than they expected.
Spinner Sam Carlaw gave the Bay a fright by grabbing five wickets before they reached the target.
If South Canterbury had managed an extra 100 on the first day or a batsman had made a big century in the second, things could have been a lot different.
However, they struggled with Tony Goodin’s pace and accuracy as he destroyed South Canterbury with seven wickets for 42 in the first innings and another five in the second.
For South Canterbury it was a disappointing way to exit despite being underdogs. Carlaw’s bowling display was a stand-out performance, with seven wickets for 109 off his 34.2 overs in the first innings and he followed that up with five for 23 off 8.3 overs.
He took 12 of the 15 wickets to fall, with part-timer James Laming and opening bowler Matt Woods grabbing a wicket each, while Glenn Matthews produced a run-out.
James Laming was the best of the batsmen with his gutsy effort as his team-mates fell around him in the first innings and then backing that up with more runs in the second.
Coach Robin Beeby was disappointed with the result but said the team would be better for the experience.
“I think the players realise if we had played to our potential, the result could have been different.
“While it is a step-up, we are capable of making it.”
Beeby put the loss down to the disastrous second over.
“That’s what hurt us and the fact we couldn’t get to 200, which would have made it very interesting.”
Two brilliant catches that dismissed the in-form Horsley and James Laming in the second innings also hurt, Beeby said.
“They were a couple of screamers when we didn’t need it.
“The Bay boys said it was the hardest challenge of the season for them.” Beeby said there were some real positives in the performances of Carlaw and James Laming. “Sam’s got a lot of ability.
“He just has to realise it and James has come on leaps and bounds since having a year overseas.”
Beeby said exposing some of the younger players to a challenge was also valuable.