Hamilton defend Hawke Cup against Bay of Plenty

File photo.

Hamilton launched a marathon rearguard action to save the crucial first innings in order to retain the Hawke Cup in their first defence of the season, against a strong Bay of Plenty.

Veteran Brook Hatwell, who played seven first-class matches at the top of the order for ND between 2011 and 2012, and Freddy Walker, current season ND representative, combined in a 98-run stand for the seventh wicket that helped Hamilton carve off a sizeable chunk of their run deficit after they resumed the first innings on the final morning at Gallaway Park.

Hatwell (78 not out) drew on all his experience to remain unbeaten on the last day, after almost five and a half hours at the crease.

Walker (64) meanwhile picked his way to a half century in the first session of the final day, but the fall of his wicket when Pete Drysdale broke through in the hour before lunch left Hamilton with a task of finding a further 30 runs to secure the lead - enough to retain the Hawke Cup in the event of a draw, while Bay of Plenty now needed just three wickets.

Hatwell and number nine Brown took their side by 260 for seven by the break, crucially having lost no further wickets while drawing close to the "target" of 272.

Even though Bay of Penty lost Brown when Drysdale struck again after the break, by now the Hawke Cup's fate was all but sealed as the hosts glided past the total of 271, and then the 300 for good measure, in the middle session.

A draw inevitable, the captains shook hands with the defenders eight down on 306.

Hamilton will be back to attempt to defend the Hawke Cup for a second time for the season in a fortnight's time (February 14-16), against the Zone 2 challenger.

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