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Otago Country claimed a first-innings win over South Canterbury in Aexandra over the weekend, coming out on top and taking a firm grip on the battle to gain the challenge for the Hawke Cup zone 4.
Playing on a slow pitch again, the home side batted first after captain James Pyle won the toss and was dismissed after 87.1 overs for 234. The innings was held together by a sixth-wicket partnership of 126 between Bailey Andrews Kennedy and Pyle, after Otago Country was teetering at 81 for five. Cam Jackson and Tayler Cumberland batted with patience to score 31 and 26 respectively. Orthodox left arm spinner Sam Carlaw did most of the damage with the ball, ending with five for 32 off 23.5 overs.
South Canterbury had 20 overs to bat on the first afternoon and got through to 55 for three after opening bowler Tom Myles picked up two wickets. It was dismissed for 131 right on the stroke of lunch on the second day. The only real resistance came from opener Matt Brown who made 59. The medium-pace bowlers did all the damage for the home side, Sam Blakely taking four for 31, Tom Myles three for 48 and Kevin Loggenberg two for 15.
Otago Country enforced the follow on and had South Canterbury in early trouble, but it held on to be 183 for nine at stumps. Liam Beck (48), Matt Brown (29) and Phil Lill (26 no) held on for the draw. Barry White bowled 26 overs and took four wickets for 57 runs.
This result gives Otago Country one foot over the line in its quest for the zone challenge.
Its next game, against Mid Canterbury next month, will be crucial to its chances.
- Malcolm Jones