Manawatu player-coach Mike Mason wound back the clock on the opening day of their Hawke Cup defence against Southland at Fitzherbert Park yesterday.
Intent on just coaching at the start of the season, the 39-year-old former New Zealand bowler was forced to play his second game of the season after Manawatu captain Luke Murray was unable to get time off work.
Manawatu were behind by 209 runs with seven wickets in hand at stumps, but the addition of Mason, who retired from first-class cricket in 2011, paid off in the bowling department.
He claimed 6 for 36 from 13.5 overs and beat the bat several times as Southland were bowled out for 240.
Manawatu missed Murray's batting as they quickly slipped to 31 for 3 at the end of the day, with Southland's total looking a long way off.
"In the end you're taking six wickets so it's probably good that I was there in the attack," Mason said. "We lost probably a couple [of wickets] there but now we've got to front up.
"We've still got a lot of batting left and it's a good track."
Mason has played as 12th man a bit this season, but it was his second actual game bowling this summer after playing Horowhenua-Kapiti in November.
"The last time I took a six-for on the honours board was 1997-98 [season], 16 years ago."
Losing three wickets wasn't ideal, but that's cricket, Mason said, and hoped they could get a decent partnership going.
Four dropped catches in the slips didn't help Manawatu's cause and Mason said the ground fielding could have been better.
Chasing Southland's 240 for the all-important first-innings win, Manawatu were 31 for 3, having lost Jason McGregor, Brynn Cleaver and Mitch Renwick, leaving stand-in captain Dave Meiring unbeaten on 12 and Rob Sheary yet to face a ball.
At the start of the day, Manawatu won the toss, put Southland in to bat and reduced the visitors at 120 for 6, with Sam Ward scoring 56 at the top of the order.
But Manawatu couldn't get rid of the tail, as Craig Smith (39), Jared McKenzie (42 not out) and Mark Beer (32) ensured it was a respectable total of 240.
Navin Patel took 3 for 60, while Bryn Templeman bowled well with no reward.
Southland coach Steve Jackson was happy with how they finished the day, but said they had got themselves in a hole during the day by not scoring enough.
"You have got to look at our six, seven and eight [batsmen], guys that dug us out of a bit of trouble at 120 odd runs," he said. "One of our openers got 50 and the other guys didn't contribute."
Removing Manawatu's top three late in the day was the perfect finish though.
"With 10 overs to bowl you're thinking a wicket, two wickets would be an absolute dream. To come away with three was certainly a great bowling effort."
He would have liked a first-innings total of about 340, but said they still had a good lead and would have to keep bowling well.
Play resumes at 10.30am today and will again tomorrow.
SCOREBOARD Manawatu v Southland
First innings R Duffy c Renwick b Patel 11 S Ward c Sheary b Mason 56 H O'Brien c Cleaver b Mason 1 S Fitzgibbon c Cleaver b Mason 11 A Singh c Mecredy b Mason 15 J Domigan c Cleaver b Patel 12 C Smith lbw b Noema-Barnett 39 J McKenzie not out 42 M Beer c Noema-Barnett b Patel 32 M Grattan c Renwick b Mason 3 J Hodson c Patel b Mason 2 Extras (b 3, lb 4, nb 9) 16 Total (for 10 wickets, 87.5 overs) 240 Fall: 1-27 (R Duffy, 8.3), 2-34 (H O'Brien, 15.3), 3-70 (S Fitzgibbon, 25.3), 4-100 (A Singh, 29.2), 5-100 (S Ward, 29.5), 6-120 (J Domigan, 40.3), 7-177 (C Smith, 71.1), 8-229 (M Beer, 84.1), 9-234 (M Grattan, 85.5), 10-240 (J Hodson, 87.5). Bowling: P Mecredy 10-3-32-0, B Templeman 18-8-38-0 (1nb), N Patel 19-3-60-3 (7nb), M Mason 13.5-3-36-6, T Richards 19-5-53-0, A Noema-Barnett 8-3-14-1 (1nb).
First innings B Cleaver lbw b Beer 10 J McGregor lbw b Smith 1 M Renwick c Fitzgibbon b Hodson 6 D Meiring not out 12 R Sheary not out 0 Extras (lb 1, nb 1) 2 Total (for 3 wickets, 10.0 overs) 31 Fall: 1-4 (J McGregor, 3.5), 2-14 (B Cleaver, 6.4), 3-31 (M Renwick, 9.6). Bowling: M Beer 5-1-18-1, C Smith 4-1-9-1, J Hodson 1-0-3-1 (1nb).
- Manawatu Standard