North Otago start season positively

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The import debate remains no easier for the North Otago Hawke Cup cricket selectors following two standout performances in the team’s 40 run warm-up win over Mid Canterbury in Ashburton on Sunday.

With sides only allowed to field one import unless a dispensation is gained, the efforts of all rounders Stephan Grobler and Francois Mostert make the selection for the opening game on December 13-14 that much more difficult.

Both knew they required a strong performance, but what happened next is exactly what the selectors would’ve been after.

North Otago won the toss and decided to bat on pitch that was known to be difficult for batting.

It was a fifty over fixture played under Hawke Cup rules, giving sides the perfect practice ahead of the Hawke Cup season.

North Otago began slowly with bat as runs were hard to come by, with North Otago reduced to 42-3 after 23 overs, before the partnership between Grobler and Mostert turned things around.

It looked like the side would struggle to make it to 150 off their allotted overs but thanks to the two South Africans they managed to score 210-3.

Grobler was outstanding with the bat starting slowly, before accelerating towards the end and managing to score 101*, while Mostert made an elegant 62*.

Batting at four, Grobler managed 13 boundaries and two sixes, while his counterpart Mostert scored eight boundaries, with Mid Canterbury off spinner Tom Meyrick copping some punishment going for 74 off his 12 overs.

With 210 on the board North Otago made early inroads with the ball reducing Mid Canterbury to 30-4 after 12 overs thanks to a fantastic spell from quick bowler Mostert.

He captured three wickets in one over, two of the wickets were in a row and one included Mid Canterbury captain Matt Winter.

Mostert went on to take three more wickets and finish with 6-23, while Grobler picked up a wicket with his leg spin on the back of a sharp stumping from wicket keeper Brady Kingan.

Mid Canterbury were dismissed for 170 off 44.2 overs.

North Otago’s next warm-up game is against South Canterbury in Timaru on December 7.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: Francois Mostert