Defending champions Hamilton were sensationally annihilated in the first round of the Brian Dunning Cup one-day competition in a performance their coach described as their worst in several years.
After last season wresting the silverware back off Counties-Manukau, Hamilton were yesterday pummelled by nine wickets by Counties at Owen Delany Park at the start of the annual three-day tournament kickoff in Taupo.
After losing the toss Hamilton were sent in on a pitch that was far better than their total of 125 suggested.
After Owen Ivins and Mitchell Santner were removed in the fourth over by medium pacer Tom Urry (3-32 off 10 overs), Michael Dodunski then got a good nut from fellow opening bowler Brandon Hiini which saw Hamilton in big trouble at 9-3.
Andy Dodd (31) and Keir Bettley (24) looked to right the ship, putting on 50 for the fourth wicket, but it wasn't long before both departed and then there wasn't much resistance from the tail, with Hamilton bowled out in just 37.3 overs.
Former Hamilton pace bowler Adam Flegg also tormented his old side by picking up the final three wickets in a Hamilton lineup, which batted all the way down to No 11.
Hamilton didn't have enough runs to make amends in the field and they dropped Counties opener Kevin Farrell before lunch.
After the interval, Farrell returned to blast his way to 58 off 53 balls, with his knock comprising eight fours and two sixes.
Fellow opener Jonny Bassett-Graham finished unbeaten on 54 with Counties wrapping things up in the 21st over.
"It's kind of good that they finished it so early to get the day over with," Hamilton coach Nathan Daley said.
"We just didn't turn up to play, it felt like. We did dumb things and paid for it. It's probably the worst performance I've seen for four, five years, maybe longer.
"No one took any responsibility with the bat, and we bowled pretty bad as well."
Daley said his side had to be mentally tougher but felt there were too many good players in his team for them not to turn it around against Bay of Plenty today.
"Stuff like this happens every now and then so we just want to forget about it and turn up tomorrow. We won't get any worse than that anyway.
"Everyone's pretty disappointed with how they performed."
Waikato Valley had a better day, with a win over Poverty Bay.
Batting first, the Valley were struggling at 41-4 with medium pacer Mitch Turner (4-44 off 10) doing the majority of the damage.
But a great 102-run stand from captain Leighton Parsons (58) and Anurag Verma (78) got the Valley back on track.
Fraser Kilgour then produced a great cameo of 37 off 15 balls (two fours, three sixes) to get the Valley to 231-9 from their 50 overs.
Poverty Bay's reply was splintered by wickets and they slumped to 80-8, with pace bowlers Parsons (3-32 off 10) and Jeremy Rout (5-25 off 7.1) the destroyers.
No 8 Izaya Broderick (41) combined with No 10 Turner (33no) for a 72-run partnership before Rout clinched victory with his fifth wicket.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Were the Chiefs robbed at the New Zealand rugby awards?Related story: (See story)