South Canterbury’s chances of challenging for the prestigious Hawke Cup have taken a hit.

They suffered a first innings loss to Otago Country in their match at Molyneux Park in Alexandra.

The green-and-whites were hoping to earn at least first innings points to put the pressure back on Southland, but with only one Hawke Cup match remaining, they need other teams’ results to go their way to earn a challenge.

South Canterbury’s Nathan McNicol and Stanley Mair’s match up with opposition quick Sam Blakely was an exciting one, as all three starred at different times.

The visitors won the toss against Otago Country and decided to bat first. After losing Adam Beck for 0, bowled by former Otago Volts seam bowler Sam Blakely, Jacob Naylor and James Laming restored things for South Canterbury.

They added 50 for the second wicket until Naylor was bowled by Swaran Sandhu for 14.

Laming who was captaining the side, continued to lead the way and made it to 47 before he became Sandhu’s second victim.

Key batsman Prabodha Arthavidu fell shortly after for 3 to leave South Canterbury teetering at 68-4.

Liam Beck was joined at the crease by Glen Drake and the pair put on a good 107-run partnership.

Beck reached his 50 with a flurry of fours before he fell a short time later to Blakely for 51.

Drake perished soon after as he was undone by a good ball from Blakely, with the burly right armer bringing one back into the left hander that hit the stumps.

The lower order offered little resistance as South Canterbury lost their final five wickets for 24 runs.

Blakely and Barry White nabbed three wickets each.

Otago Country lost opener Henry Burns early, before his partner Jonathan Homer received a short ball to the helmet from Nathan McNicol and was forced from the field.

Tim McCormick top scored for the home side with 41, Fraser Wilson made an unbeaten 40 with support coming from Jarred Andrew (29), Barry White (24) and Liam Cotton (20) as they earned first innings honours.

Otago Country declared at 202-7, a three run lead.

Nathan McNicol was South Canterbury’s best with four wickets, while Mark Otley and Craig Hinton bagged the other wickets.

South Canterbury made 211 in their second innings, leaving Otago Country 209 runs to win.

Laming made 45 before falling lbw to Wilson, while Adam Beck (31) and Prabodha Arthavidu (30) also made starts.

Bowler Mark Otley was the final batsman dismissed for 11 as Fraser Wilson picked up five wickets and Blakely grabbed another three to end with six for the match.

Otago Country’s pursuit of 211 started well with Burns and Danny Edwards putting on 36 up top, before Otley struck twice.

Liam Cotton and Tim McCormick scored 31 and 47 respectively to help Otago Country into a strong position.

However, the home side got the wobbles and lost six wickets for nine runs.

But South Canterbury ran out of overs as Otago Country ended on 120-8.

Stanley Mair picked up three wickets in four overs, while Glen Drake nabbed a couple.

The result sees South Canterbury slip to third place behind Southland and Otago Country on 20 points.

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