Bowlers give Canterbury big win
Canterbury 302 (Fulton 98, Latham 51) and 43 for 1 beat Auckland 173 (Kitchen 41, Stewart 5-42) and 170 (Hopkins 66*) by nine wickets
A dismal batting performance from Auckland pushed them to a nine-wicket defeat against Canterbury in a Plunket Shield match between the lowest-placed teams in the table.
Resuming play from their overnight score of 110 for 7, Auckland started badly on the second day, losing overnight batsman Michael Bates for one. Captain Gareth Hopkins, who finished with an unbeaten 66, adding 60 important runs with lower-order batsmen, as Auckland scraped past a deficit of 129 runs to avoid an innings defeat. They were finally all out for 170, setting Canterbury a target of 43 runs for a win, which the latter achieved in seven overs.
In their first innings, Auckland, who were sent in to bat, stuttered to a total of 173. Shanan Stewart, a middle-order batsman for Canterbury, was the surprise pick of the bowlers, picking up five wickets for 42 runs with his medium pace. Four of those wickets were Auckland's top-order batsmen and Stewart narrowly missed out on a hat-trick in the 22nd over, when he dismissed opener Michael Barry and Craig Cachopa off consecutive deliveries. He finished the over with three wickets, however, bowling Hopkins off the sixth ball.
Peter Fulton, in contention for an opener's spot for New Zealand in the forthcoming Tests against England, made a strong case for his selection with a steady 98. A 106-run partnership between Fulton and Worker gave Canterbury a strong start and the middle order capitalised on it, with useful knocks from wicketkeeper Tom Latham, Shanan Stewart and Todd Astle. Canterbury were dismissed for 302, gaining a 129-run lead over Auckland.
Canterbury's bowlers then set about ensuring that the batsman did not face a large total to chase in the fourth innings. Pacers Ryan McCone and Matt McEwan kept the Auckland batsmen in check and the two picked up three wickets each.