Otago’s week goes the wrong way

Cam Hawkins. Photo: ODT files
Cam Hawkins. Photo: ODT files

Get out of  the penthouse and over to the outhouse.

That was the story for Otago this weekend after it lost heavily in a Plunket Shield match in Alexandra.

The side had contested the one-day domestic final last weekend but it fell quickly from the top level, being thumped by Central Districts at Molyneux Park over the past four days.

Central Districts ended up winning the match by an innings and 84 runs.

The home side was always fighting to save the game when it conceded more than 500 as Central Districts piled on the runs in the first day and a-half.

When a side scores  so many runs in the  opening innings of the match it holds all the cards and there is little the other  team can do to get in a dominant position. All Otago could do was score quickly.

But a poor effort with the bat in the opening session on Saturday meant it was never in a position to come to the bargaining table.

Otago lost its last eight wickets for 72 runs in the first innings and finished 349 runs behind the Central Districts total of 511 for six declared.

Right-arm pace bowler Blair Tickner picked up four wickets for Central Districts  and  left-armer Ryan McCone took three.  Central did not hesitate and put Otago back into bat.

Things did not improve for Otago in its second innings.

Brad Wilson went for a duck with not a run on the  board  so the clouds were gloomy over Molyneux Park for Otago.

It managed to scramble through to 99 for three wickets at the end of Saturday’s play, knowing it would have to bat for the best part of yesterday to escape with a draw.

Why it would settle for a draw is a fair question. Bonus points apply only in the first innings,  so getting through with a draw actually meant little to Otago’s points tally.

Otago’s task was all about denying the win for Central Districts as the men from up north looked to get the 12 points for the outright victory.

It dug in and could not be accused of not fighting. The side went well and truly on the defensive.

Debutant opening batsman Cam Hawkins notched a half century in more than four hours but he went for  61 as the side continued to slide.

Josh Finnie tempered his usual aggression and was patient in scoring 72 before he was bowled by Brad Schmullan.

The ending came  quickly with young Central all-rounder Dean Foxcroft picking up four wickets.

Otago’s next game is in Dunedin against Canterbury on Friday.

In other games, Northern Districts beat Wellington in Hamilton by 98 runs. Joe Walker picked  up a five-wicket bag for Northern as Wellington finished well short of the target of 241.

At Eden Park, Auckland beat Canterbury. Chasing 257 for victory, Auckland won by four wickets on the back of good knocks from Mark Chapman and Finn Allen.

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