Nelson claim Hawke Cup

Jason Domigan
Jason Domigan
Nelson is the new Hawke Cup holder after an exciting 36-run win over Southland in the Hawke Cup three day match in Invercargill.

At lunch yesterday, Southland was well placed to take victory, needing a further 65 runs to reach the first innings target of 297 with five wickets in hand.

But an inspired spell of action from Nelson bowlers Sam Baxendine and Felix Murray had Southland lose its five wickets for 28 runs and trail on the first innings by 36 runs.

There was no time or point to start the second innings, and thus Nelson won the Hawke Cup.

Nelson had set a respectable first innings total of 296 thanks largely to opening batsman Thomas Zohrab, who scored 122, and experienced captain Greg Hay, who made 72.

Southland's standout bowlers were Jack Mockford with four for 42, and Jason Domigan with four for 73.

Southland coach Steve Jackson was pleased to keep Nelson under 300.

"Our spinners put the screws on - created the pressure - and having the keeper up added even more pressure. His [Amarpreet Singh's] stumping from medium pace bowler Domigan was exceptional," he said.

The game was evenly poised going into the third day, with Southland 108 for three.

Two wickets fell quickly, but James Ng and wicketkeeper batsman Singh forged ahead, putting on a 112-run partnership before lunch. Southland looked poised to pass the Nelson total and retain the cup.

Immediately after lunch though, Nelson fast bowler Baxendine took the wickets of Singh for 78 and Ng for 87.

The experienced Jason Domigan and Jason Osborne put on a 25-run partnership before Baxendine struck again.

Domigan then became the fifth Southland batsman to be trapped lbw when hit in front by Murray. Baxendine bowled Ben Lockrose to wrap up the match.

Jackson said it was a good game. Nelson had played well, and the side was a classy unit.

" It's an emotional time for us, with Domigan retiring. He had a long career with Otago Country and Canterbury Country before us."

Southland had fended off Mid Canterbury in its first defence of the summer two weeks ago, but Nelson proved a much tougher opponent.

Southland manager Murray Fitzgibbon said his team had fought hard for each other for a few years now.

"We are all Southlanders. Even our Indian guys have been here six or seven years. If we can get another challenge next summer, we know we've got the team to win it back," he said.

 - John Langford

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