Southland takes first win in Hawke Cup opener

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SOUTHLAND opened its 2020/21 Hawke Cup campaign with a first-innings win against Mid-Canterbury.

Two schoolboy stars were the heroes for Southland in the two-day fixture at Queens Park in Invercargill. Benji Culhane, of Southland Boys’ High School, scored a century (105) while Finn Hurley, of Otago Boys’ High School, scored an equally valuable 81 from 85 balls.

Culhane was on debut while Hurley won a cap last summer. Both have starred at age-group levels with both Southland and Otago.

On Saturday morning, Mid-Canterbury won the toss and elected to bat. The visitors were 25 for two before a partnership of 89 from Ben Innes (31) and Des Kruger won some momentum. Kruger went on to score 112 to put the visitors in a commanding position. Captain William Southby had chipped in with a patient 50 runs.

Southland opening bowler Kieran Lloyd took six wickets for 40 runs from his 13 overs. Southland was 16-1 when rain ended the first days play.

Southland got to 50 runs before losing its second wicket on Sunday. Rain interrupted the game for 90 minutes before lunch.

When the chase resumed at 1.20pm, Hamish Cooke looked to be Southland’s hope. Cooke got to 43 before being caught out.

Hamish Skelt and Amarpreet Singh made minor contributions but their dismissals left Southland in trouble at 122-6.

The schoolboys then came to the rescue to score the 158 runs required to go past the visitor’s total of 279.

The boys’ partnership of 176 runs ended when they tried to quickly extend the lead. Southland was ahead by 51 when time was called on the match.

Southland coach Steve Jackson has a team in a rebuilding phase after a host of senior players either retired or moved out of the province after last season.best shoesNike WMNS Air Force 1 Shadow White/Hydrogen Blue-Purple

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