After two successful defenses the Hawke Cup will be heading south as Canterbury Country proved to strong in a dominant display at Galloway Park.
Under warm conditions at Galloway Park the visitors won the toss and sent the Hamilton side into bat. Canterbury came out the gates firing, rolling through the title holders for just 98 in 28.2 overs. First class paceman Henry Shipley took 6-27 as the Hamilton order battled against a strong bowling outfit.
Matt Whitely was the pick of the bunch for Hamilton, gutsing out a 26 (49 balls) in an attempt to steady the ship for his side. Unfortunately, it was not to be with the bat in hand for the home team with Michael Dodunski presenting the next highest score of 19 (32 balls).
Hamilton came out ready to defend their fortress of Galloway park, despite their earlier batting efforts. In dramatic fashion the home side responded to the call, taking the wicket of New Zealand Under 19 World Cup batter Rhys Mariu for a duck in Matt Wallbank’s opening over.
Wickets continued to fall for Canterbury Country, Dodunski striking twice before Freddy Walker removed the other opening batsman Ruper Young, leaving the challengers in a sticky situation of their own at 34 for four at the beginning of the 18th over.
Prolific run scorer Shanan Stewart took hold of the wheel for Canterbury Country and grinded out a 75 run lead for the visitors with an unmatched 94* at stumps.
Stewart completed his century in the first session of the day as Canterbury extended their lead past the 100 mark, with 5 wickets in hand.
As the game started to slip into the hands of the visitors Matt Wallbank struck the elusive wicket of Stewart, breaking Hamilton into the visitor’s tail enders. Despite the vigilant effort of Tim Gruijters 27*, Hamilton took to the tail end swiftly bowling Canterbury Country all out for 240. Freddy Walker shone brightly for Hamilton with his 5-76 coming off 36.1 overs. The challengers took the first innings lead of 142.
Hamilton, in desperate need of a solid reply battled hard through Elliot Santner who looked on track to anchor the innings. Elliot watched the dismissals of his two counterparts from the non-striker’s end which left the home side 56 for two. Santner remained at the crease for close to three hours and was on the cusp of a half century when Canterbury Country wicket keeper Tim Gruijters whipped the bails off with a nice stumping.
Things quickly turned south for the home side despite the honorable knock of 55 from Hamilton skipper Keir Bettley, who constructed a 70-run stand with Anton Devcich (39). Bettley, Joe Walker, Devcich and Hatwell all fell in the space of two and half overs leaving the title holders in strife. Hamilton taking a precious lead of 47 heading into the last day.
Although the home side fought hard to increase their lead it was short lived losing their last three wickets in the first 13 overs of the day.
Fighting out of a corner, Matt Wallbank took the wicket of Rhys Mariu early sparking a glimmer of hope into the Hamilton side, who were not going to give up the Hawke Cup without a fight.
Freddy Walker claimed Ben Hartland in the 16th over, leaving Canterbury Country at 31 for two and needing 55 runs for victory.
At the resumption of the innings after lunch, the walker brothers – Freddy (2-30) and Josef (2-56) took three more wickets between them in a valiant effort to keep a hand on the prestigious Hawke Cup.
Unfortunately, it was not enough, Shipley featuring again as he struck the final boundary mid-afternoon to take Hawke Cup from Hamilton.
The region is very proud of the team’s efforts to defend the Hawke Cup for two successive challenges. This is not an easy milestone and reflects an excellent display of cricket from a strong side.
Photo Credit: Bevin Jenkinson