Nelson 'outplayed' in cup clash
Nelson's representative Hawke Cup cricket campaign has ended on a sour note after they suffered a decisive first-innings loss to Canterbury Country at Mandeville yesterday.
The Golden Edge Nelson Griffins could only muster a disappointing 158 runs in response to Country's first-innings total of 391.
Following on, Nelson had reached 16 for 3 in their second innings at tea, when steady rain mercifully forced play to be abandoned.
Nelson coach Garry MacDonald said his team simply had no answers to a superior Canterbury Country team effort.
"We were pretty much outplayed this game," said MacDonald.
"Canterbury Country came pretty hard at us - [they] won the toss and batted bloody well, and just about in all facets of the game they were all over us - no excuses."
Still, he managed to extract some positives from an otherwise one-sided encounter.
"We've been pretty badly beaten, but I guess [seam bowler] Joey O'Connor's been putting in some massive workloads for us, and I thought [offspinner] Luke Toynbee again bowled very well to hold an under-pressure attack together.
"But we tried to compensate for the loss of our two recent best batsmen [Dan Cooper and Greg Hay] and we couldn't do it."
Two century partnerships had seriously hindered Nelson's progress on Saturday as three Country batsmen posted half-centuries on a flat wicket, headed by Canterbury first-class left-hander Henry Nicholls' 88.
Harry Chamberlain (65) and Matt Laffey (72) would also post significant totals before the day's end, with a 133-run partnership between Nicholls and Chamberlain initially combining to take the early initiative away from Nelson's bowlers.
Nelson had enjoyed early success when Jon Routhan nicked out Jack Boyle for 4, at 12 for 1 in the day's sixth over. A subsequent 41-run stand between opener James Tapper and Nicholls hinted at a shift in momentum before Nicholls and Chamberlain began to dominate.
Their substantial partnership carried the score through to an imposing 186 for 3 by the time Chamberlain was finally caught off the bowling of Toynbee in the 53rd over. Chamberlain faced 109 balls and hit nine fours.
Nicholls went four runs later, Routhan again finding the edge of the bat to end a classy innings at 190 for 4.
Nicholls batted superbly, facing 151 balls and hitting 13 fours, leaving Laffey and Sam Chamberlain to inflict further damage with their 116-run sixth-wicket stand.
Toynbee struck again with just eight overs remaining in the day, trapping Laffey lbw at 337 for 6, Laffey's 166-ball innings including 10 fours.
Liam Bartholomeusz was stumped by Ricky Edwards off left arm spinner Marty Kain for 14 with the score at 356, leaving Chamberlain and Will Williams to carry the score through to 360 for 7 at stumps.
Country added a further 31 runs yesterday before their eventual dismissal for 391, Chamberlain out for 48, caught off the bowling of O'Connor, who finished with 4-53 off 19.2 overs. Toynbee (2-55) and Routhan (2-90) each took two wickets.
Only four Nelson batsmen reached double figures in the visitors' reply, openers Simon McGowan (32) and Matt Macquet (19) adding a promising 32 runs for the first wicket.
That promise proved ill-founded, as only Josh Clarkson (37) and O'Connor (24) made any further impression against an accurate, penetrative Country attack. Will Williams (3-27), Mitchell Ross (3-38) and Nicholls (3-40) each took three wickets, with offspinner Nicholls completing an impressive match double.
Still 140 runs shy of the follow-on mark, Nelson were inserted a second time and had been reduced to a disastrous 16 for 3, with Macquet gone first ball, before tea and rain ended the contest.
Nelson's Hawke Cup campaign might be over but they still have a one-day fixture against Marlborough on March 9 to consider.
"We've still got a Newman Shield to defend, so we've got to get organised for that, get people fit again and fresh . . . so that's what we've got to concentrate on now," said MacDonald.
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