The umpires had the final say despite both teams wishing to continue in the Hawke Cup elimination match between South Canterbury and Mid Canterbury last weekend.
Winning the toss on a pleasant day in Ashburton South Canterbury Captain James Laming justified his decision batting nearly the whole first session of two and half hours before disappointingly losing his wicket right on lunch, out for 83.
More unfortunately for South Canterbury, Laming was the sixth wicket to fall with the total only 127 as his team mates regularly lost their wickets after often doing the hard work and starting to get things on the right track. Partnerships of 33, 43 and 34 which all looked promising never went on.
Down the order Zane Sanders helped keep Mid Canterbury in the field scoring his 26 off 71 deliveries, and the lower order wagged in terms of time, rather than runs and eventually South Canterbury’s first innings was completed, all out for 178.
The medium pace Mid Canterbury bowlers all grabbed a couple of wickets while off-spinner Tom Meyrick was the most successful with 3-23.
South Canterbury nemesis James Southby was soon driving and pulling as he put our opening bowlers under pressure on his way to his top score for Mid Canterbury with 91 off only 85 balls.
However the experience of Kevin Teahen helped slow the scoring and he was rewarded with the prize scalps of the Southby brothers, just reward for toiling through 17 overs.
As the breaks went on to try and build some pressure Prabodha Arthavidu who didn’t have a great day with the bat, showed his all round skills as he took 3-40 with his off-spin, and importantly helped Teahen to slow the scoring rate and make Mid Canterbury battle for their runs.
James Blackstock bowled one of his best spells for South Canterbury hitting a good length and troubling all the batsmen to be rewarded by picking up two top-order batsmen and two at the tail, on his way to a very economical 4-25.
When Southby was out Mid Canterbury were 132-3 and snuck past the South Canterbury total to earn first innings points 7 down. With their No 5 batsman out of the match after dislocating his shoulder throwing the ball in from the boundary, Mid Canterbury made it to stumps on the first day with their last pair at the crease and a 20 run lead.
Day 2 loomed and a lovely day with none of the gusty nor-westers from the first day to trouble the bowlers, but Richard Print took the attack to the bowlers on his way to an unbeaten 27 and Mid Canterbury to a 45 run lead before Blackstock finished off proceedings.
South Canterbury set about their batting in a positive manner as they looked to set a score to declare, with an outright their only option to gain points.
Hero of the first day Laming couldn’t repeat his efforts, out very early on but Sam Porter got into the twenties, Arthavidu made it to 33 before being stumped and Josh Dick also looked promising before being out for 24.
Again South Canterbury lost wickets just as they seemed to be ahead of the game again, and in the end handy double figure contributions from Liam Beck, Ben Watson and Blackstock helped South Canterbury to 157.
Small targets are often harder than large ones, and this time was no different as Mid Canterbury chased 113 to win outright.
Blackstock continued his fine match removing danger man Southby for 5, and the South Canterbury fielders were hunting everything.
You would think South Canterbury had video analysis as fields were changed according to batsman, but South Canterbury’s workhorse, Kevin Teahen, also proved to be the unluckiest bowler in the match as chances were put down that need to be taken at this level, and in the end he had to bowl them to be sure.
Teahen bowled 14 overs straight on the way to 4-45, but easily could have had six or seven victims as Mid Canterbury crawled to 77-5 when the rain came about tea time.
With the forecast not looking good it was a surprise when the rain ceased and the players and ground staff were able to get the covers off ready to resume the battle with South Canterbury needing 4 wickets for a victory after having fought back into the match and was probably on top when the rain had arrived, while Mid Canterbury had begun to throw the bat at the ball to try and nick or edge their way to an outright before losing their wickets.
Alas, despite all the work, and both teams wanting to play for the 12 points still on offer, the umpires deemed an area near the run ups as too wet and called time.
After a good match for two days, both dressing rooms looked a bit gloomy, as a result either way was a probably more fitting outcome.
South Canterbury have some things to improve on, but would be reasonably happy with their effort, playing with great spirit as a group, showed some heart to battle back into a winning position, and one can only hope that they take that into their next match with competition leaders North Otago on January 16/17 in the New Year.