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Stead leads the charge

The Christchurch Press
15 January 1999

Logo INVERCARGILL -- A well-drilled Canterbury combination, led superbly by captain Gary Stead, outplayed Otago in all facets of the game to record a 15-run win in their Shell Cup cricket game played at Queens Park yesterday.

It was a cup game that Otago could have won, but the home team had no response to the pressure applied by Canterbury in the latter stages and again came up short.

Batting first after winning the toss, Canterbury struck early problems. Former New Zealand representative Llorne Howell was striking the ball well early, but was dismissed on 11 when gliding a ball to slip fieldsman Andrew Hore.

Craig Cumming stayed long enough to add 38 with Brad Doody for the second wicket, but Stephen Mather's first ball of the game brought about his undoing and Canterbury was in trouble at 49 for two.

Former Northern Districts representative Gareth Hopkins proved the man for the occasion, however, after Doody's 92-minute stay ended with his total at 34. Hopkins joined forces with Stead in a vital fourth-wicket stand.

They added 80 in 55 minutes during which time Hopkins posted his first cup 50 off 66 balls, including two fours and one six.

Perfect captain's innings

Stead played the perfect captain's knock on the way to an unbeaten 83 scored off 100 balls and with Hopkins, they were the key figures in Canterbury's 230 for eight.

Shayne O'Connor, on a hat-trick after dismissing Hamish Barton and Shane Bond with successive balls late in the innings, was the most successful Otago bowler finishing with three for 50, but Glen Jonas and Mather were more demanding.

Otago opener Chris Gaffaney was in free-scoring mode on the way to 19, but when the experienced Warren Wisneski claimed Mark Richardson's wicket with the board locked on 35, Otago began to have problems. Canterbury bowled six maidens in the first 17 overs to put the brakes on.

However, captain Robbie Lawson and Mather got Otago into the game with their 115-run fourth-wicket stand in 87 minutes.

Lawson top scored with a well-compiled 74 before becoming Stephen Cunis's first Shell Cup wicket.

Mather made 63 before holing out to Wisneski and Canterbury had enough of a cushion to prevent Otago pushing on to the win, eventually falling 15 runs short.

``It was always going to be tough for us once the run rate got away,'' a disappointed Lawson said.

``Although we had wickets in hand at the 40-over mark, and got ourselves right into the game, we never got the upper hand at any stage.''

Source: The Christchurch Press
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