Challenge Match - Zone 2
[Holder] North Otago lost to [Challenger] Hawke's Bay outright by an innings and 52 runs
Centennial Park, Oamaru
Friday 26 - Saturday 27 February 2021
- Hawke's Bay will host the Zone 1 Challenge from Hamilton -
It was a David and Goliath battle that Goliath won. North Otago, the second smallest province on the Hawke Cup landscape, had beaten Nelson outright to win the trophy for just the third time, but now they were on the receiving end in their first defence as an impressive Hawke's Bay team pulled together a clinical innings victory with a day to spare.
Hawke's Bay captain Angus Schaw won the toss, sent in North Otago at their home ground, watched his pace bowlers dismiss them inside two sessions on Friday, then scored 129 - batting at seven - for more than three and a half hours on day two to set up the outright victory for his side.
Despite the best efforts of Ben Donkers (3-73 at the top) and Jeremy Smith (rumbling the middle order with his 4-94), Hawke's Bay had cruised ahead of North Otago's 145 in the first innings, finishing the first day holding the lead by two runs - a first psychological barrier broken as it meant a draw would now have sufficed to return the trophy to Napier's Nelson Park.
First drop Central Stag Brad Schmulian had played an important role with a patient 53, sharing an 80-run stand with the young Izaiah Lange. But the visitors lost two quick wickets early on day two.
Led by their skipper, they fought back to be 217/7, a lead of 72 runs, at lunch after Schaw had put together his half century in the session with his captain's knock going nicely.
He went on to see his side reach 317 in reply with a series of graunchy tailend partnerships.
Schaw became the last wicket to fall, a first innings lead of 172 after 93.3 overs. North Otago then had a horror finish their tenure, losing all 10 of their second-innings wickets in the final session of the day.
The hosts were rolled for just 120 to hand Hawke's Bay a startling innings victory - by an innings and 52 runs.
Spinner Todd Watson finished with 4-23 off his seven overs, while occasional Stags seamer Liam Dudding (3-37) took three tailend wickets in a single over as the challengers closed in for the kill.
Hawke's Bay will now return to Napier to host Zone 1 Challenger Hamilton (like Hawke's Bay, another recent holder of the Hawke Cup) at Nelson Park in the final Challenge match of 2020/21, from Friday 12-Sunday 14 March.