Hamilton have bounced back from a two-loss form slump to hammer Waikato Valley by an innings and 57 runs and keep their hopes alive for another crack at the Hawke Cup next summer.
Playing at Cambridge's Victoria Square at the weekend, Hamilton dominated the match, scoring 394 for nine declared on Saturday after being put in on a green top pitch and then rolling Valley for 85 and 252, respectively.
No 5 Michael Dodunski, who used to be better known for his bowling but has developed into a consistent batsman, led the way for Hamilton with 157 not out in his first century for the association.
Hamilton were 90 for five when Dodunski came to the wicket. He had a useful partnership with Keir Bettley (58) and good backup from the rest of the order as the Valley bowlers failed to bowl in the right areas to take advantage of the bowler-friendly pitch.
Jimmy Baker and Bradley Scott then quickly reduced Waikato Valley to 30 for five, bowling to the conditions, before left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner came in and finished off the innings for 85 by taking five for 22.
Santner had to wait until yesterday morning to get the final wicket and then Hamilton had no hesitation in asking Valley to follow on.
There was better resistance from Waikato Valley second time around and Leighton Parsons (64) helped them to a more respectable total of 252.
At tea, Hamilton needed three more wickets and were facing resistance from an eighth-wicket partnership. However, the break did the trick and Baker (2) and Dodunski got a wicket in each of the first three overs to end the innings and complete an innings and 57-run victory. Baker finished with a five-wicket bag.
Hamilton coach Nathan Daley said despite the victory, the team's hopes of winning the Fergus Hickey Trophy were probably gone.
However, with the ND qualification for a Hawke Cup challenge next summer spread over a calendar year, they had about five games up their sleeves to try and qualify for a chance to regain the trophy.
Hamilton 394-9 dec (Michael Dodunski 157no, Keir Bettley 58) bt Waikato Valley 85 (Mitchell Santner 5-22) & 252 (Leighton Parsons 64; Jimmy Baker 5wkts) outright by an innings and 57 runs.
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