State Championship 2003-04 December 20, 2003

Canterbury up against it

All matches day three of four

Auckland 226 and 31 for 0 need another 317 runs to beat Wellington201 and 372 (Woodcock 86, Franklin 61, Walker 62*)
A career-best 86 from Luke Woodcock, painstakingly compiled in 303 minutes, was the basis of a fine Wellington recovery at Eden Park's outer oval, which left Auckland needing 348 to win. Woodcock added 116 with James Franklin (61) while lower-order support rounded out their efforts with Chris Nevin scoring 29, Matthew Walker 62 not out and Andrew Penn 47. Auckland's bowlers faced much more subdued pitch conditions. Craig Pryor, making his first appearance this year, took 3 for 63, Kerry Walmsley 3 for 87, and Paul Hitchcock 3 for 88. Tim McIntosh and Shane Singe made a determined start when Auckland started their chase.

Northern Districts 121 and 41 for 1 trail Otago 305 for 8 dec (McKenzie 74, Lawson 69) by 143 runs
Rain again marred the match at Carisbrook but by stumps Otago had played themselves into a strong position against Northern Districts. Otago, thanks largely to 69 scored by Robbie Lawson and 74 by Marcel McKenzie, declared at 305 for 8, a first-innings lead of 184. Conditions demanded hard graft, with Lawson was at the crease for 228 minutes, and McKenzie only seven minutes less. It seemed that ND would reach stumps without losing a wicket, but in the last over, offspinner Nathan Moreland's fourth ball went straight through James Marshall's defences to bowl him for 25. Northern Districts were effectively a wicket down before they started as Matthew Hart had to retire hurt in their first innings with a back injury and is unlikely to bat.

Canterbury 190 and 97 for 3 need another 228 runs to beat Central Districts 196 and 318 (Sulzberger 59, How 53, Sinclair 52)
A similarly tight finish is in prospect at Palmerston North as Canterbury attempt to defy the odds to beat Central Districts, which they will have to do if they are to retain their lead in the championship. Central Districts, who had a six-run first innings lead, scored 318 second time around to leave Canterbury with a stiff target of 325. Mathew Sinclair scored 52 while Glen Sulzberger continued what has been a fine match for him by scoring 59. Ross Taylor chimed in with 44 while Regan West scored 29. Chris Harris proved the most effective of the Canterbury bowlers, taking 4 for 37. Harris found himself at the forefront of his side's hopes with the bat as well as the ball. He was 12 not out at stumps as Canterbury were precariously placed at 97 for 3. With Neil Broom also at the crease, Canterbury have only Gary Stead and Aaron Redmond of their recognised batsmen remaining. Lance Hamilton took 2 for 25 in the Canterbury innings as Brendon McCullum fell for 21, Michael Papps for 25 and Peter Fulton for 22.