Mid Canterbury’s first-innings lead secures challenge

Mid Canterbury has secured a Hawke Cup challenge despite losing outright to North Otago in Oamaru in the weekend.

By winning on the first innings over North Otago, it picked up eight points, which took its points tally to 30, leapfrogging over Otago Country (29) to be the top qualifier and it will challenge holder Southland in a couple of weeks.

Mid Canterbury last played in a Hawke Cup challenge in 2004, when it defeated North Auckland. It lost the cup early the following season.

North Otago finished the season on a high note, taking the outright win thanks to some good bowling.

North Otago won the toss and put Mid Canterbury into bat but solid batting from Will Southby (33), Mark Winter (42), Richard Turpie (37), Matt Tait (26) and James Southby (24) got the side up to 191.

North Otago left-armer Cameron Grubb claimed six for 72 off 20 overs while Francois Mostert took the rest, four for 48.

Despite a classy innings of 74 from Llew Johnson, only four other North Otago batsmen reached double figures, as the side was bundled out for 168, 24 runs short of a first-innings lead.

Mid Canterbury, with the Hawke Cup challenge in the box at lunch on the second day, was dismissed for 127.

The tailenders revived an innings which had looked shaky.

At one stage, the visiting side was 23 for five but a determined 38 from Jay Houston carried the innings through to 127, an overall lead of 150.

Grubb continued his form with the ball, taking five for 54, and Mostert took three for 45.

North Otago was given the task of scoring 151 runs for the outright points and had its moment in the sun when it cruised through to 150 for the loss of four wickets.

Once again, youngster Johnson led the way, with an unbeaten 73 on top of his effort in the first innings. 

- Terry O'Neill

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