State Championship 2003-04 February 22, 2004

Wellington polish off CD

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Wellington beat Central Districts with more than a day to spare at Napier, while Northern Districts and Otago have the upper hand in today's other State Championship matches.

Wellington 181 and 310 beat Central Districts 63 and 197 (Taylor 66, Gillespie 4-71) by 231 runs

Wellington made the most of some indifferent Central Districts batting to take an outright win in less than three days at Napier, to increase their prospects of a place in the State Championship final. CD, after their miserable first-innings batting effort of 63, faced what would have been a record victory target of 429, but they could do little to boost their own cause after losing all bar Ross Taylor of their best batsmen in reaching 57 for 4. Taylor scored a typically aggressive 66 off 57 balls, but it was only a holding action before the accurate Wellington attack had the final say. Mark Gillespie ended with 4 for 71, while James Franklin and Iain O'Brien took two wickets apiece.

3rd day close Otago 336 and 143 (Hopkins 50, Wisneski 4-45) lead Canterbury 219 (Harris 63) and 78 for 4 by 182 runs

Canterbury, the competition front-runners, are under pressure from a resurgent Otago team at Alexandra. Otago had the benefit of a substantial first-innings lead to assist them, even though they slumped to 143 all out in their second. Warren Wisneski (4 for 45), Chris Martin (3 for 32) and Stephen Cunis (3 for 42) shared the wickets for Canterbury. Chasing 261 to win, the Cantabs ended the third day at 78 for 4, with Gary Stead 30 not out and their captain Chris Harris on 2. They represent Canterbury's last realistic hope of securing another victory.

3rd day close Auckland 283 and 123 for 4 (Horne 53*) lead Northern Districts 388 (Marshall 78, Orchard 97) by 18 runs

Northern Districts' best batting effort of the summer could also be sufficient to upset Auckland's chance of a finals berth. Auckland, with only six wickets in hand, have only an 18-run lead. Mark Orchard led the ND batting effort with 97 before he was bowled by Kerry Walmsley. Previously, ND have failed to provide support for batsmen who were in, but this time Matt Hart scored 46, Joseph Yovich 40 and Robbie Hart 32. At one stage in their reply, Auckland were 34 for 4, but the first-innings centurion Matt Horne was still there with 53 at stumps, after an 89-run stand with Aaron Barnes, who had 36 not out.