Weather will be more important than bonus points
One of the biggest factors in this years State League points table will be the weather. Forget the bonus point system, the rain will have a far bigger impact, and it's far easier to understand.
It poured in Hamilton on Saturday, and it kept pouring until early afternoon, when it changed to showers. To pass some time we headed out to Park International Country Club for a bit of golf. The keener golfers took a trip round the nine-hole short course under umbrellas, the more sensible among us sought the shelter of the driving range, although this didn't seem to make a difference to where some of the balls ended up.
Shortly after lunch back at the ground, a group of young men turned up, with a television camera and a certain ex-Holmes reporter who now hosts A Game of Two Halves. They were dressed in the famous beige one-day gear of the 80s, but they soon removed this to run and dive stark naked round the slippery outfield under the eye of the camera (and many pairs of stunned female eyes in the stand). I'd recommend watching that particular Wednesday night television show if you'd like more detail.
Lunchtime entertainment aside, by 4pm the umpires had called play off, deeming that there was insufficient time for the ground staff to get the ground in a fit state for play. At the latest we could have started at 5.30pm and played 15 overs per side, finishing at 7.30pm. However, the ground staff would have needed three hours to pump the water off the covers and prepare the ground. Not enough hours in the day.
In anticipation of similar weather on Sunday, I elected to bowl first in the match which was delayed by rain until 1pm. We left the field twice for brief showers but fine weather prevailed and we were able to play the full 50 overs. Canterbury were dominant with the bat from the start and got away better than a run-a-ball for the first 10 or so overs. The run rate slowed once Paula Flannery was run out attempting a third on Maree Hannay's arm, but Nicola Payne anchored the innings with a well constructed 65 to see them through to 232.
Our chase started in a similar fashion to our innings against Otago, run outs were again a feature, and whilst most of the batsman got a bit of a start, no one took ownership of the innings and occupied the crease for a substantial length of time. The Canterbury bowling attack, in particular Helen Daly, Sarah Burke and Rebecca Steele, gave a good demonstration of the line and length that is required to put a side under pressure. That is what they achieved, we struggled to beat their inner circle and we were eventually dismissed for 123.
We head south on to take on the Central Hinds and Wellington Blaze at the end of the week. We are all aware of the areas in which we need to lift our performance and this trip will be the test of whether we can apply it on the field.