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Canterbury v Northern Districts (Shell Cup)

The Christchurch Press
10 January 1999

Canty's cup campaign reaches crossroad

Coach Garry MacDonald was considering desperate measures after his Canterbury Shell Cup cricket team suffered its second decisive home loss of the weekend, at the hands of Northern Districts.

The Northern top-order batsmen showed their failed Canterbury counterparts how it should be done by reaching the 187-run winning target in only 40.4 overs at Jade Stadium (Lancaster Park) yesterday. Auckland had inflicted a similar seven-wicket embarrassment.

``We have to think about possible changes,'' said MacDonald, looking ahead to Friday's match against Otago at Invercargill. ``Some players who would be in the frame have gone to Australia with the Kiwis (under-21s), and we are contemplating whether it is fair to bring them back.''

Canterbury, again deprived of its internationals for most of the round-robin series, has fallen to fifth midway through its qualifying campaign. A defiant MacDonald was adamant a full-strength Canterbury side would regain the cup -- but first it must reach the semi-finals.

``It's been very disappointing. Putting aside all the disruptions, we have never batted ourselves into a position to have a decent crack at them,'' MacDonald said.

``We have been three for 50 in all three games here, on one of the best batting tracks in the country. No-one has consistently bowled six balls down the channel or avoided bowling no-balls and wides, while the fielding has been average at best.''

Even Mark Priest's outstanding feat of becoming the first bowler to capture 100 cup wickets could not lift the gloom.

An all too familiar pattern re-emerged as Canterbury lost its fifth wicket at 55, as much from self-destruction as Robbie Hart's brilliant wicketkeeping catch and medium-pacer Daryl Tuffey's tenacity which triggered the slide.

Once again, Priest led the resistance movement, carried on by Hamish Barton and Warren Wisneski as both improved their previous best cup scores and created a Canterbury eighth-wicket record of 76 runs.

Points (with matches played in parenthesis): Northern (6) 8, Central (5) 6, Wellington (5) 6, Auckland (6) 6, Canterbury (5) 4, Otago (5) 2.

Source: The Christchurch Press
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