HOLDER Nelson lost to ZONE 2 Challenger Hawke's Bay by 10 wickets
1-3 March 2019
Saxton Oval, Stoke, Nelson
Hawke's Bay continued its strong recent record in the Hawke Cup, claiming the coveted provincial prize for the fourth time since the year 2000 alone, after dominating a promising Nelson side with bat and ball. Hawke's Bay will now host the final Direct Challenge of the 2018/19 season from Zone 1 regional champion Hamilton, who will travel to Napier's Nelson Park for the three-match battle starting on Friday 15 March 2019.
While all too late for Nelson to hold onto the Hawke Cup, a big second innings performance was required to at least salvage their pride. The team delivered, with Josh Clarkson posting his 150* off 111 balls (6x4, 10x6) on the final afternoon, following on.
Nelson had just nudged into the overall lead when Clarkson lost partner Paddy Howes at 378 for six, however, and 378 for six quickly became 401 for seven with the loss of Clarkson himself, bowled by Ben Stoyanoff on 164.
Hawke's Bay wrapped up the Nelson second innings for 404 inside 75 overs, then chased down the 28 runs required for an outright win without losing a wicket.
Regardless, the massive first innings advantage had sealed the next destination of the Hawke Cup. It will now be heading back to Nelson Park in Napier, home of the Hawke's Bay Cricket Association where it will go on the line for one final time this season, against Zone 1 challenger Hamilton starting on Friday 15 March 2019.
Hawke's Bay seized the ascendancy with both bat and ball on a day the association won't forget at Saxton Oval. Matt Edmondson continued from his overnight score of 192* to become the first batsman from Hawke's Bay to score two double centuries in his career for the senior rep side.
Angus Schaw, who had reached his half century just before stumps on day one, meanwhile continued in support and eventually raised his bat for his maiden century at senior rep level. All this is a mammoth first innings tally of 524 for six declared.
Having resumed that morning at 396 for five, Schaw was unbeaten on 114 by the time Smith declared shortly before lunch, the heavy scoreboard putting the mental pressure on Nelson to summon a good start of their own in reply.
But Nelson bodies were no tired, after all that fielding, with spinner Felix Murray having bowled 34 overs in the innings for just the one wicket. Unfortunately for Murray, he would be required to bat before the day was out, and by that time Nelson would be nine down trying to stave off an inevitable first innings loss.
At 60 for five, Hawke's Bay had the defenders under enormous pressure. By tea it was 114 for seven and the writing was on the wall: a miracle escape would be required to address the first innings deficit. Murray batted for 72 minutes, longer than anyone else in the side, for his unbeaten 35 before the last man fell.
All out for just 147 in 54.2 overs, Hawke's Bay then enforced the follow on: why not di this thing with an outright, if they could. Either way, with a day to play, it would appear the Hawke Cup is on its way back to Hawke's Bay after a remarkably one-sided contest.
The young Zohrab twins would meanwhile begin day three at 48 for no loss in the second innings, David on 22* and Thomas 17* overnight.
Highest individual scores in Hawke Cup challenge matches
272* - CA Kinzett, Nelson, 1933/34
268 - GG Robinson, Hamilton, 2005/06
265 - WG Hodgson, Nelson, 1983/84
264 - JK Everest, Waikato, 1956/57
255 - RW Anderson, Southland, 1976/77
242 - MJ Edmondson, Hawke's Bay, 2018/19 - challenging team
A fine day dawned for Nelson's first Hawke Cup challenge in 22 years, with Hawke's Bay winning the toss and electing to bat as the challengers looked to continue a good record in the competition over the intervening years.
By the end of the day, visiting number four Matt Edmondson (above) had ensured the challengers had got off to a solid start in what's looking like a Hawke Cup runfest at a dry Saxton Oval, with almost 400 runs on the board on the first day.