A five-wicket bag from North Otago bowler Stephan Grobler last weekend has put North Otago in a good position for a Hawke Cup challenge.

Grobler stepped up in the final innings of the match against Mid Canterbury, taking five wickets for 27 in nine overs to give North Otago an outright win.

North Otago coach Pete Cartwright said the pitch was breaking up near the end of the second day and it provided good conditions for Grobler to strike.

North Otago batted first on Saturday, notching 186 runs, and Mid Canterbury struggled in reply to reach just 124.

Ahead by 62 runs, North Otago made 155 in its second innings and Mid Canterbury was all out for 140 at the end of Sunday.

Youngster Tom Dempster was the home side’s top batsman, scoring 62 and 58 runs in his innings and impressing his coach.

“For a young guy, they were pretty tough runs. They weren’t finishing off an innings when you’re going all right, they were under pressure both times.

“So it was pretty crucial that someone stepped up and it was good that he did,” Cartwright said.

Bowler Cameron Grubb was strong throughout, taking four wickets in the first innings, and two in the second.

“Grubby does what he does – he takes wickets. He’s been our strike bowler for a couple of seasons and he just keeps performing, which is great.”

Scott Kitto also grabbed two wickets for North Otago in the second innings.

It was pleasing to see the side gelling together and working for the win, he said.

“It was a team effort – everyone chipped in at different times. We summed the conditions up pretty well, we thought it was going to be pretty tough to bat on in the fourth innings and it panned out that way, so our spinners came into play, which is great.”

North Otago will travel to Invercargill tomorrow to take on Southland in the final match of its campaign.

It was shaping up as a most important game, as North Otago was in the hunt for the win.

“If we top the result we’ll get through to a Hawke Cup challenge, but there’s a few different scenarios to pan out.

“But if we play to our best we should have a reasonable chance.”affiliate link traceNike