Osborne century key for Southland

Southland all-rounder Jason Osborne stars in Southland's remarkable outright win over South Canterbury in their Hawke Cup southern zone match at Queens Park in Invercargill during the weekend.

It was an even encounter throughout day one and the visitors had the upper-hand for much of day two before all-rounder Jason Osborne came into bat at number eight and scored a game winning century.

Southland won the toss and elected to bowl on Saturday but it was South Canterbury who dominated early, at one stage the visitors looked on target for a big first innings score at 228-5. Southland Captain Shaun Fitzgibbon then struck twice in one over which spurred Southland on to pick up the last five wickets for just 16 runs.

South Canterbury had made 244 thanks largely to Will Sharp (56) and Glen Drake (67). Debutant Kieran Lloyd had the best bowling figures for the locals taking three wickets for 23 from 13 overs.

Southland came out swinging and brought up their 50 for the loss of one wicket in the eighth over. South Canterbury counterpunched by picking up three further wickets including the prize scalp of Amarpreet Singh for a duck. The game was in the balance overnight with Southland four wickets down for 108.

Fitzgibbon (25) was out early on Sunday morning, the 61 run partnership that ensued from Hamish Skelt and Keiran Lloyd (29) helped Southland through to 195-6 at lunch. When Skelt was dismissed for 42 Southland still needed 42 runs with three wickets in hand.

Osborne then unleashed, bringing up his 50 off 79 balls and then his 100 off 110 balls. The highlights were Osborne taking 28 off one of Glen Drake’s overs, and his ninth wicket partnership of 100 runs from 91 balls with Kurt Thompson.

Osborne was eventually caught for 118 from 115 balls and Southland declared with a lead of 96. The local bowlers then had the visitors three down for 28 at tea. South Canterbury required 68 in the third session to force Southland to bat again. They past the total with three wickets in hand but could on build a lead of 11. With 13 overs still available in the days play the Southland openers past that target in their second over to earn outright victory.

 - John Langford

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