Country falters in first innings
Losing the toss proved costly for Canterbury Country in their Hawke Cup Challenge against Counties Manukau in Auckland.
Turning up to Weymouth Oval to find damp spots on the pitch forcing a delayed start it was a crucial toss which the hosts won.
Country were rolled for just 66 in the difficult batting conditions and, as the pitch dried out during the afternoon, the hosts were able to have first innings points by the close of the day.
It was an uphill battle from there for Country with Counties Manuka in the box seat, able to hold out for a draw to keep the cup.
‘‘We should have batted better than that but the conditions didn’t help,’’ Country coach Sharpe said.
‘‘From all out for 66 we did well to fight back and take the game into the last hour on day three but the damage was done.’’
After being sent into bat Country were in immediate trouble at 32/3 at lunch after 21 overs.
Tim Gruijters dug in but he was the seventh man out for 22 leaving Country reeling at 59/7.
The final three wickets fell for six runs with Country all out for a paltry 66 in 47.3 overs.
Sandeep Patel had 3/12 while Scott Johnston had finished off the tail for 4/12
Counties Manukau also lost early wickets to be 13/2 then 29/3, but Nick Kelly and Luke Williamson combined to get the host through to 72/3 at stumps for the first innings points and a lead of six.
Kelly was eventually out for 69 and with Patel making 58 the hosts posted 205, a lead of 139.
Henry Shipley had 4/20 with two wickets from Will Williams (2/43) and Jeremy Benton (2/37).
Country needed to erase the deficit and rack up a total their bowlers could work with.
Jack Boyle made a patient 57 at the top of the order before Shanan Stewart took charge with a blazing century.
Stewart made 137 off 165 balls, sharing a 123-run stand with Will Williams, who finished unbeaten on 47 off 42 balls.
Country declared at 314/3 after 81 overs, a lead of 175 with 54 overs left in the day.
Two early wickets had Country in with a sniff but ultimately Counties Manukau shut up shop and batted out the day, finishing 77/2 for the draw to keep the cup.
Counties Manukau takes on Southland in the final challenge of the summer.
Counties Manukau batsman Sandeep Patel squeezes the past Canterbury Country’s Ben Hartland