Treadwell Gordon Wanganui were trying to survive the last 90 minutes of play after having to follow on in their rain effected Furlong Cup clash with Hawkes Bay at Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon.
Aware of the new bonus points system, Hawke's Bay batted systematically on Saturday after Wanganui captain Simon Badger won the toss and put them in – ultimately declaring for 362-7 instead of trying to push on for another monster 500-600 run total.
Late afternoon rain put pay to Wanganui getting out there for the final couple of hours, as well as seeing an extra 60 minute delay yesterday before the hot conditions dried the pitch out.
When they did start, Wanganui batted gamely but lost key wickets throughout the afternoon to the spinners, not to mention veteran opener Dominic Rayner having to retire hurt after blowing out his calf looking for a single.
Dismissed for 205 and 57 runs short of the follow-on mark, Wanganui were put in again and promptly in the cart at 10-3, along with Rayner not batting, as pace bowler Ben Stoyanoff ripped through promoted night watchman Ross Kinnerley, professional Ben Smith with one ball, and Thomas Walshe not long afterwards.
On Day 1, Wanganui had thought the green looking wicket would test Hawke's Bay, but the batsmen got straight into their work as captain Jacob Smith survived a dropped gully catch to score 48, with his opening partner James Field (92) then losing Bradley Schmulian for a but carrying on through lunch and beyond with the talented Dean Foxcroft (90), a former South African Under 19 representative.
Facing a depleted Wanganui pace attack, the pair worked the ball around the park, taking the fours when they were offered from bad deliveries – 24 of them combined – to have 200-3 up around the 42-43rd over.
Badger finally produced something off the pitch as Field misread an outswinger and gave a nick to wicketkeeper Matt Simes.
Matt Edmondson (39) picked up where Field left off, while Foxcroft lifted Trent Hemi for a massive six towards the trees.
Kinnerley started dropping the ball in short at Foxcroft, who still look self assured by turning them into the boundary, until his confidence got the better of them and he gave away a top edge to Simes.
Mark Fraser is reluctant to be a front line spin bowler for a Wanganui team that desperately needs one, but he showed with 2-12 from six overs that he should take it seriously after momentarily checking Hawke's Bay's momentum by getting Edmondson and Graeme Tryon.
However, both Angus Schaw (34) and GC Pretorius (46 not out) have previously enjoyed time in a Hawkes Bay tail which wags against Wanganui, and that trend continued as they saw their side past the 300 barrier for batting bonus points and well on their way to 350 before Schaw was caught and bowled by Nick Harding.
In reply yesterday, many Wanganui batsmen got starts against the Hawke's Bay attack which revolved a lot around their slower spin merchants but eventually they were all caught out to be dissmissed well shy of making the visitors pad up again.
Six batsman reached the 20's in their innings while Ben Smith (34) had looked to get them away to a good start despite Rayner limping off, with Smith getting six boundaries in reasonably quick time.
However, he was the first Pretorius victim (3-54), and then Walshe lost his stumps for the first of two times in one day, while Greg Smith (21) looked to bat himself into some form before Schaw caught up with him with his offspinners.
Fraser and Harding were building a solid 45 run partnership coming into the lunch break, using the left and right hand batting combination with Fraser playing the percentages and Harding looking to launch to the boundary rope when he could.
However, Harding pushed at a lifting Jayden Lennox (3-22) delivery straight after lunch and was caught, and then it seemed Badger might form the core partnership with Fraser until the latter lost his stumps to Lennox, who had been a last minute replacement.
The pattern continued, as Badger was secure enough to go for the boundaries, but Hawke's Bay would just bide their time as Lennox had him too, while Simes tried to shore up an end for 67 straight deliveries.
John McIlraith was keen to get on top of Pretorius and the other spinners, hitting two sixers and two boundaries in his quickfire knock, but the veteran spinner had caught up with Ben Smith in full flight and now trapped McIlraith in front and Chris Stewart immediately afterwards.
Kinnerley (21 not out) tried to attack with Simes support, but the young wicketkeeper was eventually caught off Stoyanoff as Wanganui were informed they could have another go.
Having lost first innings points, their attempts to avoid an outright innings hammering took a nose dive as Stoyanoff just picked up where he left off in the third innings.
1st Innings: Hawke's Bay 362-7 declared off 73 overs (J Field 92, D Foxcroft 90, G Pretorius 46no, M Edmondson 39, A Schaw 34; M Fraser 2-12, N Harding 2-51, R Kinnerley 2-92).
2nd Innings: Wanganui 205-9 off 62.3 overs (B Smith 34, J McIlraith 29, M Fraser 27, S Badger 25, N Harding 23, G Smith 21, R Kinnerley 21no; J Lennox 3-22, G Pretorius 3-54).
3rd Innings: Wanganui 16-3 off six overs.