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Historic . . . North Otago beat Southland outright last weekend to earn a Hawke Cup challenge against Nelson next week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Jeremy Smith – remember that name.

The North Otago all rounder had a blinder as he helped his side sail to victory last weekend, earning a Hawke Cup challenge against Nelson next week.

North Otago had an outright victory against Southland in Invercargill, becoming the first North Otago side in history achieve the feat.

North Otago batted first, and Smith finished on 57 not out, contributing to his side’s 213 run total.

When it was his turn with the ball, he nabbed five wickets for 81 in his 21 overs.

In the second innings, Smith hit an unbeaten 25, and with the ball, he picked up six for 66 in nine overs.

North Otago coach Pete Cartwright was pleased to see Smith stand out with a top individual performance.

“He’s sort of the leader of that bowling group and he’s bowled bloody well without a lot of success, so I was pretty pleased for him to get a couple of fivers – it was bloody nice,” Cartwright said.

Smith was a standout for North Otago, but it was a team performance getting the victory.

Tom Dempster smacked his third consecutive half century “under pressure”, and Stephan Grobler continued his strong bowling form, taking three wickets in the first innings.

“Everyone chipped in throughout the weekend, whether it was batting, bowling or fielding.

“There was some run outs and good catches taken by different guys and everything, so it was just a good team effort.”

There was still room for improvement, as North Otago could have pushed Southland out of the match earlier.

“Once we had that first innings lead . . . we had an opportunity to bat them right out of it and not give them a chance to bat at all. If we’d done that we were through without them needing a run chase.”

Cartwright described the team as “tough”, as it battled through the last three zone four matches as knock out games, due to it losing to Otago Country in its first outing.

“They’ve built up some real mental toughness . . . their cricket nous is brilliant, really, across the whole group. It’s one of the smarter cricket teams I’ve been a part of – they learn a lot as they go and they put it into practice straight away, which is brilliant.”

The ability to focus on the task in front of them showed the calibre of players among the team, he said.

“It shows good leadership within the group and shows a bit of a focus on performance, rather than the end result, which is what it’s all about. If you can get the performance then you’re going to be good enough to get the result.”

North Otago heads to Nelson for a three-day match, starting next Friday, to challenge for the Hawke Cup.

The side will be bolstered by a second Smith – Otago all-rounder Nathan will join brother Jeremy in the line-up.

“It’s important to remember that at the end of the day it’s a game of cricket, so we’ll just prepare accordingly.

“We’ll try and get what we do right and hopefully it’s good enough to have them under some pressure at some stage and we’ll see how we go.”