A "tired but happy" Andrew Mathieson could've chatted for hours about his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
There was a bit to talk about, given the medium pacer helped guide Central Districts to a 10-wicket win over Otago to go 30 points clear at the top of the Plunket Shield standings.
Any time a team is beaten by that margin on a pitch as flat as Napier's Nelson Park, especially having enforced the follow-on, there's plenty to crow about.
But in this instance Mathieson and company achieved it without the services of three frontline bowlers.
Import Peter Trego tweaked a calf, as did captain Kieran Noema-Barnett, while leg-spinner Tarun Nethula sat out with a shoulder problem.
That was all on top of the stomach trouble batsman Mathew Sinclair had, which meant he wasn't even at the ground. "It was a lot of injuries and a lot of new faces on the park. So we had our 12th man [Will Young] on and then had to bring another three guys on as well," Mathieson said.
Adam Milne, after making 97 with the bat and taking five wickets in Otago's first innings, was barely at full steam either, leaving Mathieson, Andrew Lamb, Carl Cachopa and Jeet Raval to shoulder the bulk of the bowling burden.
"I think we did pretty well to knock them over second time round," said Mathieson.
His figures of five for 39 came off 20 overs, while Lamb had no success from the same workload, leaving Cachopa and Raval to chip in with the remaining wickets as Otago were dismissed for 239.
That left the Stags chasing just 21 to win, which they managed in less than five overs.
As jaded as Mathieson was feeling after the match, he said the team definitely had no regrets about sending Otago in again.
"We felt they didn't deserve a chance to get back into the game basically and we wanted to hammer that home and really beat them," he said.
The 23-year-old is in his first summer with the Stags, after a frustrating couple of seasons trying to force his way past the likes of Brent Arnel and Graeme Aldridge at Northern Districts.
Mathieson eventually conceded defeat on that front and is grateful for the chance CD offered him.
"The only way to get better at this level is to be playing," he said.
"It wasn't a complete performance with the ball in this game ... so I'm still looking to improve and get more consistent."
CD's next four-day match is against Wellington at Karori Park, starting on December 10.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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