Aldridge, Devcich fashion thrilling Northern Districts win
Northern Districts 464 (Wilson 165, Brownlie 128, Phillips 4-98) and 254 (Devcich 123, Duffy 6-83) beat Otago 363 (Ryder 92, Smith 70, Aldridge 3-66, Baker 3-52) and 306 (Finnie 77, Duffy 55, Aldridge 5-57) by 49 runs
Graeme Aldridge's five-wicket haul in the second innings helped Northern Districts register a 49-run victory over Otago in a thrilling last-day finish at the Seddon Park. The 20 points from the win helped Northern Districts move up to second place, 14 shy of Canterbury with two matches remaining.
Set a target of 356 on the fourth day, Otago began on the wrong foot with Hamish Rutherford nicking seamer Aldridge behind in the third over. When Michael Bracewell,captain Aaron Redmond and Jesse Ryder, who made 92 in the first innings, were dismissed, Otago were four down for 88.
But Ryan Duffy and Derek de Boorder, who struck 43 in 50 balls, counterattacked with an 80-run stand in 98 balls before Aldridge removed the duo in the space of two overs. Josh Finnie, then, moved the game forward with partnerships of 41 and 62 for the seventh and eighth wickets with Craig Smith and Rhys Phillips.
However, Otago's challenge was as good as over when Aldridge struck again to have Finnie caught behind for 77 off 99 balls . Otago managed only six runs for the last wicket before Aldridge completed his five-for by accounting for Jacob Duffy.
Earlier in the morning, Northern Districts added 23 runs to their overnight score of 231 for 9, and by the time Anton Devcich was the last man out, he had slammed his second first-class century and posted his highest score of 123 off 141 balls. Devcich, who had scored 62 in the first innings, put on 41 runs for the last wicket with Aldridge.
Having oped to bat, Northern Districts went on to gain a first-innings lead of 101 runs: a margin that would prove decisive in the end. Brad Wilson and Dean Brownlie -- notching up their eighth and 10th first-class tons respectively - put on 214 runs for the first wicket. Daryl Mitchell and Devcich chipped in with fifties as Northern Districts declared their innings on 464, leg-spinner Phillips claiming four wickets on debut.
Otago replied strongly through half-centuries from Ryder, Rutherford, Bracewell and Smith, but couldn't surpass Northern Districts' total. At 235 for 6, they could have fallen well short of the 363 they eventually made, if not for a 96-run stand for the seventh wicket between Ryder and Smith.