Revital Fertilisers Taranaki faced a make or break game in round 3 of the Furlong Cup against Hawkes Bay, what transpired was one of the weakest Taranaki efforts for a number of years.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat the majority of the batsman threw away their wickets and did not show the application one would expect from cricket at this level.
Openers Dean Robinson and Jesse Vertongen negated the Hawkes Bay attack for the first hour putting on 39 runs in the process. Once Vertongen departed, Shaun Sullivan only lasted three balls and then Robinson was gone soon after and Taranaki found themselves under pressure at 47 for 3.
Liam Muggeridge and Matt Allen steadied the ship with a 31 run partnership but a lose shot from Allen saw him walking back to the sheds soon followed by Phil Barraclough for a duck.
Muggeridge would continue on; combining with skipper Mattie Thomas for a 52 run stand, Muggeridge would top score with 47, Thomas made 31 and the innings was completed with some hard hitting from Ryan Watson who made 30. Taranaki dismissed for 187.
In reply the Hawkes Bay batsman started with caution but a two wickets in two balls by Ryan Watson put Taranaki on the front foot. The remainder of the Taranaki bowlers struggled to build pressure with inconsistent line and length and provided a boundary ball per over. Taranaki would strike on the final ball of the day leaving Hawkes Bay at 152 for 6 and the game in the balance.
Day two arrived and Taranaki’s plan was to build pressure and give the batsman nothing, unfortunately with Watson unable to bowl due to a side strain picked up from the day before the other bowlers could offer what was needed, that along with some poor fielding allowed Hawkes Bay to go past Taranaki’s 1st innings score for the loss of 7 wickets.
In a positive move Hawkes Bay declared and with 89 overs left in the day there was certainly enough time for the Taranaki side to set up a challenging run chase and salvage their season.
Once again the Taranaki openers of Dean Robinson and Jesse Vertongen got the side off to a steady start but once again they were both guilty of getting a start and not going on with it. At 60 for 1 Taranaki would have been starting to think what score they would like to set off how many overs, that is where the season fell apart, in the space of one hour they went from 60 for 1 to 77 for 8 and their mindset shifted to now one of survival. Eventually the side was dismissed for 117, Angus Schaw doing the majority of the damage with his off spin taking figures of 7 for 15 from 14.4 overs.
A dejected Taranaki side took to the park hoping for a miracle but any hope of winning the match vanished as the Hawkes Bay openers showed no mercy scoring at 8 an over and eventually scored the winning runs for the loss of one wicket.
Taranaki now welcome Whanganui to Pukekura Park on January 26th and 27th.