Challenge Match - Zone 4
[Holder] Nelson lost to [Challenger] North Otago outright by 250 runs
Saxton Oval, Nelson
Friday 12 - Sunday 14 February 2021
- North Otago will host the Zone 2 Challenge from Hawke's Bay -
A great day in North Otago's Hawke Cup history when the visitors from Oamaru uplifted the coveted trophy in convincing style from Nelson.
After already having taken a first innings lead, the Penguins rolled Nelson a second time for an outstanding 250-run outright.
North Otago put themselves in the box seat by ensuring the Nelson tail didn't get close to hauling in their own modest first innings total of 168.
The lower middle order partnerships North Otago had fought so hard to craft on the first day would prove very influential to first innings bragging rights - and positioning for a potential first innings win, if no outright - as holders Nelson resumed day two in peril at 81 for seven.
It took just a further 6.1 overs in the morning to dismiss Nelson for 109, the Otago Volts allrounder Nathan Smith continuing to exert his own influence with bat and ball to finish with the second five-wicket bag of the fixture, 5-32 off his 14 overs.
North Otago took a 59-run lead then set about advancing their position with a stronger second innings dig.
Thomas Zohrab picked up Stefan Grobler for just nine after he had laboured for more than an hour to anchor the opening stand, but partnerships were the key as the rest of the top and middle order steadily accumulated.
There were good contributions from opener Jeremiah Shields (44), Lachlan Kingan (54), Llew Johnson (60) and Tom Dempster (40), Johnson and Kingan putting on 122 for the third wicket.
By stumps Nelson was staring at a 300-lead to North Otago, who finished the day on 241 for seven, with the opportunity to bat on in the morning if the tail could kick on.
Thomas Zohrab, twin brother David Zohrab and Ronan Restieaux had meanwhile picked up a brace each.
Seventeen wickets fell on Day One at Saxton Oval and, despite a five-wicket bag to Nelson opening bowler Josh Newport, the defenders found themselves under the pump against a fighting North Otago by day's end.
Newport got off to a perfect start in Nelson's first defence of their latest tenure, after North Otago Penguins captain Lachlan Kingan had won the toss at Saxton and asked them to bowl.
Newport bowled Jeremiah Shields with his first ball of the game for a diamond duck, then bowled first drop Kingan with his third, bringing the Otago Volts' powerful young Llew Johnson to the middle with his side 2/0.
Johnson survived for 18 deliveries before being caught off Ronan Restieaux's third over at 13/3 in the sixth, and it set the tone for a crash-bang first session, and first day, that left the challengers six down for 94 at lunch.
By then Volts allrounder Nathan Smith had gone too, leaving his brother Jeremy and Ben Donkers, on 11*, to defend their honour. Donkers went on to the top score of 49, nudging past Tom Dempster's 43 before Newport's 5-65 and three from legspinner Harsh Visavidya ensured they were packed away for 168 inside the middle session.
The Nelson Griffins will have been annoyed to have let them get that many in the circumstances, and even more so by the end of the day after a fighting effort from the challengers with the ball gave them the advantage in the hunt for the important first-innings lead.
One of three sets of brothers in this match, alongside identical Nelson twins David and Thomas Zohrab and brothers Finn and Ronan Restieaux, Nathan Smith took three of Nelson's top four cheaply in his 3-18, including the big wicket of Central Stags Plunket Shield captain Greg Hay on 16.
By stumps, Nelson was in a bind at 81/7, still an alarming 87 runs behind in the first innings. The last few overs of the afternoon had been disastrous for the hosts, Stephan Grobler and Jeremy Smiith turning the game with three wickets in three overs to catapult the Griffs from 74/4 to 75/7.