Southland's season ends on a sour note
The Southland cricket team's 2012-13 season come to a disappointing end yesterday as it was dished up an upset loss to Mid Canterbury
Southland went into their final Southern Zone Hawke Cup showdown with Mid Canterbury needing outright points to win the zone and advance to a Hawke Cup challenge against holders Bay of Plenty.
The fact they put North Otago away in their last outing and Mid Canterbury had suffered three outright losses meant Southland went into the two-day fixture at Queens Park with a touch of confidence.
However, it was a sluggish and far from slick performance from Southland who were attempting to defend their southern zone title.
It started in the field as the bowlers lacked penetration, and to add to this the fielding was not at its best.
Mid Canterbury got through to a first innings total of 251 - not daunting but more than Southland would have liked to have conceded.
However, it was Southland's first turn at bat which ultimately was their downfall. They lost early wickets and at stumps on day one were 63-4.
Barring Craig Smith (31) and a handy 19 not out from Michael Grattan there wasn't a lot to get excited about early yesterday either in their attempt to overall the 251, or at least cut the lead.
Southland were bowled out for 131, 120 runs behind and not surprisingly Mid Canterbury asked Southland to bat again because they had failed to avoid the follow-on mark.
Knowing an outright win was still a must, the Southland plan was to bat somewhere in the vicinity of 40 overs in their second innings to, first knock off the 120-run deficit, and then build a lead to give them an outside chance of outright points.
When openers Ryan Duffy (63) and Simon Wadworth (55) blazed their way through to 120-0, that plan of attack was gaining some traction.
But the hurry to accumulate quick runs eventually led to Southland's downfall as they lost quick wickets and started to dig a hole while balancing trying to score runs at a good clip while not getting out.
Southland were bowled out for 240 in their second innings which left Mid Canterbury 121 to get in about 26 overs.
Southland still harboured hopes of pulling a rabbit out of the hat but the Mid Canterbury batsmen showed positive intent. It come off as they took just 19.2 overs and lost just the one wicket to overhaul the target.
Mid Canterbury will be disappointed with their season but head into the off-season encouraged at what they can do after their win in their last outing.
For Southland they will be disappointed and will have to stew over what might have been during the winter months.
- © Fairfax NZ News