Southland, North Otago both in cup hunt with a match to play

The Hawke Cup zone four table has been turned upside down after matches over the weekend.

North Otago has put itself in the hunt to qualify for a challenge after an outright win over Mid Canterbury in Oamaru.

But it was not the result Otago Country wanted in Alexandra when it went down to South Canterbury, losing by seven wickets.

The wash-up leaves plenty of possibilities with one game left in the zone four competition — North Otago taking on Southland in Invercargill this weekend.

South Canterbury now leads on 24 points while North Otago is on 20 points.

The three teams which were leading the competition on 16 points before the weekend — Southland, Otago Country and Mid Canterbury — did not add to their total, and Otago Country and Mid Canterbury are now out of the running.

In Oamaru, ball dominated bat.

The home side batted first and made 186 on Saturday, helped by youngster Tom Dempster’s 62. Llew Johnson pitched in with 28 as wickets fell regularly.

Mid Canterbury struggled in reply and reached just 124.

Cameron Grubb took four for 26 and Blake James picked up three cheap wickets.

Ahead by 62 runs, North Otago made 155 in its second innings. Again Dempster was to the fore with 58.

Richard Turpie bagged a cheap four-wicket bag and Mid Canterbury had a sniff. It was required to score 218 in the second innings.

It never got close and was all out for 140. It lost its last six wickets for 26 runs with Stephan Grobler taking a five-wicket bag.

North Otago won the game by 77 runs.

In Alexandra, Otago Country lost outright to South Canterbury as it failed to fire with the bat.

South Canterbury batted first at Molyneux Park and tallied 299 on Saturday with Jake Naylor scoring 82.

Marcus Frost took three wickets for Otago Country.

In reply Otago Country put a disappointing 172 on the board. Otago Country was going along all right, but its tail failed to wag.

South Canterbury bowler Phil Lill took five wickets.

Otago Country was forced to follow on. After being 161 for four it folded to be all out for 209. Opener Michael Goldstein made 57 but the Country side lost its final five wickets for just 27 runs.

South Canterbury reached the target of 83 for the loss of only three wickets.

North Otago could win zone four this week if it beats Southland either outright or on the first innings. Southland could go top if it won outright.

Canterbury Country holds the Hawke Cup, with the zone four challenge due to be played next month. — additional reporting by Steve Hepburn.

 - Terry O'Neill

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