Points victory to high-powered Hamilton
A star-studded Hamilton side got one-up on rivals Counties-Manukau in their Fergus Hickey Trophy two-day match at the weekend.
Hosts Hamilton claimed first innings points in the drawn encounter at Galloway Park which was called off at tea yesterday.
Having been dealt to by Counties in recent encounters, Hamilton put in a solid display which will lift their confidence levels ahead of important Hawke Cup defences later in the season.
Winning the toss and batting, the home side made a sedate start.
Though scoring just over two an over, they got to lunch for the loss of just one wicket.
Opener Keir Bettley (38) and No 3 Daryl Mitchell (44) played patiently before Anton Devcich lifted the tempo with 65 and Black Cap B J Watling hit 69 as Hamilton got to 309-9 from 95 overs, then declared to have half an hour at Counties before stumps.
Key Counties batsman Kevin Farrell hit his first two balls over the top for four, but off-spinner Josef Walker was thrown the ball for the second over and he dismissed Farrell to give Hamilton the momentum heading into the second day.
Yesterday Walker chipped away at wickets, and with Counties seven down at lunch, the hosts had hopes of taking the last three wickets cheaply and enforcing the follow-on with anything liable to happen on a turning pitch.
However 59 from Nick Kelly and No 9 Shane Gadsdon's stoic 63 helped the visitors to 237.
Walker finished with 6-91 off his 23 overs as Hamilton took first innings points.
The hosts then gave their lower order batsmen some time at the crease in a short second innings of 10 overs, where they reached 48-2, before the game was called off at tea.
Hamilton coach Nathan Daley was delighted to get their two-day campaign under way on a good note after some below par efforts in recent one-dayers.
While he was hoping for 350 from his batsmen on a flat wicket, he acknowledged Counties bowled tightly early and his side subsequently ran out of time.
But he felt 300 was enough if his side bowled well.
Daley said that although his high-profile batsmen led the way, he was confident his other players would have stepped up had they not been so fortunate as to have the big guns.
A major positive was the performance of Walker. He used beautiful flight and spun the ball plenty.
"He hasn't been in the best form this year, not like he was last year or even a couple of years ago," Daley said.
"But he bowled well, real good control in this game. That was probably the most pleasing thing about the game, seeing him come back to what he can do."
AT A GLANCE
Hamilton 309-9 dec (B Watling 69, A Devcich 65, D Mitchell 44, K Bettley 38; T Urry 3-52) & 48-2 beat Counties-Manukau 237 (S Gadsdon 63, N Kelly 59; J Walker 6-91) on the first innings.