Southland takes first innings win over N.Otago

Southland, with a first innings win over North Otago on the weekend, will play Mid Canterbury next week for the right to represent the southern zone in the Hawke Cup challenge.

The match will be at Aorangi Park in Timaru, as the Ashburton block is undergoing remedial work.

North Otago won the toss, asked Southland to bat first at Whitestone Stadium on Saturday morning, and sent back four of the Southland top order batsmen in the first session, having the visitors 99 for four at lunch.

North Otago used six bowlers in the first session, with left-armer Cameron Grubb splitting the top order with three for 19 off his 13 overs before lunch, taking the wickets of Jack Mockford (19), Jared McKenzie (37) and James Ng (0), while Mason James took the wicket of Matt McColl (2).

After lunch Southland resumed with Amarpreet Singh (26 not out) and Hamish Skelt (5 not out) at the crease. But Grubb soon struck for the fourth time, taking the wicket of Singh for 39 and leaving Southland 118 for five.

The rest of the session belonged to Southland though, as Hamish Skelt (52 not out) and Ryan Duffy (37 not out) took it to tea at 198 for five.

Duffy was eventually out for 73 to Jeremy Smith, having added 127 runs with Skelt for the sixth wicket to take his team to 245 for six.

Smith then quickly dismissed Skelt too, for 62, and Southland eventually got to 289 all out.

At stumps on the first day North Otago was 11 runs without loss.

North Otago lost Jeremiah Shields (8) and Scott Kitto (9) early in the innings on day two as it attempted to bat for the bulk of the day to possibly gain the vital first innings lead. It went to lunch at 118 for four, still 171 runs short.

A defiant North Otago side refused to roll over, with good hands from opener Stephan Grobler (42), Lewie Johnson (35) and Tom Dempster (49 not out).

But it could not overhaul Southland’s total either, ending at 239 all out after Mockford’s highly impressive haul of seven for 67 from 26.1 overs for Southland, and a draw was the overall result.

 - Terry O'Neill

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