New Zealand State Championship 2003-04 December 14, 2004

Mills takes Auckland to the top

Auckland 296 (Vincent 90, Shaw 3-37) beat Canterbury 111 and 125 (Mills 5-49) by an innings and 60 runs

Auckland rocketed to the top of the State Championship table with another outright victory, this time within two days, after beating Canterbury at the Hagley Oval by an innings and 60 runs. The innings victory, though, didn't give Mark Richardson a chance to score the six runs that he needed to reach 10,000 first-class runs. Instead he left with 9994.

Auckland batted into the second morning with Lou Vincent staking a claim for a national spot with a patient 90. He was supported by Brooke Walker. Once Vincent was dismissed, Andre Adams spent some useful time in the middle and blasted 56 off 49 balls, including two sixes and six fours. Hayden Shaw and Chris Martin snapped up six wickets between them for Canterbury.

Canterbury started their second innings 185 runs behind and were in trouble from the outset as both their openers, Tim McIntosh and Michael Papps, fell for zero. Things soon got worse for them and it was only lower-order defiance from Andew Ellis, who batted for 69 minutes, and Shaw that extended the game late into the day. Kyle Mills achieved the first 10-wicket haul of his career, and in the process notched up 100 first-class wickets to end the game with 10 for 82. Adams also chipped in with three fine catches toward the end of the Canterbury innings.

Northern Districts 254 for 8 (Orchard 48, Hart 48, Mason 2-35) trail Central Districts 479 by 225 runs

Northern Districts were in a deep hole at McLean Park as Central Districts batted into the second day to reach 479. Northerns still trailed by 225 with just two wickets standing at the end of the second day.

After being kept on the field for 109.3 overs, Northerns' poor fortune continued with James Marshall out for just 1. But Llorne Howell (35) and Mark Orchard (48) steadied the nerves with a 71-run stand for the second wicket. However, the middle order floundered after the solid platform. Several batsmen threw it away after getting starts and they were soon left with the danger of having to follow-on. Matt Hart made the only other sizeable score with 48. Michael Mason and Lance Hamilton were the most successful bowlers for Central Districts.

Otago 327 and 14 for 1 lead Wellington 291 (Franklin 79, J Ryder 72, McMillan 4-36) by 50 runs

Wellington, the defending champions, were staring down the barrel at 49 for 4 in their first innings, thanks to some fine bowling by James McMillan and Jeff Wilson. But they were rescured by a fifth-wicket stand between James Franklin and Jesse Ryder. Ryder had to foresake his usually attacking instincts but handled the pressure well to score 72 off 121 balls. Franklin notched up 79 and Wellington were back on track.

McMillan, though, who finished with 4 for 36, struck with the new ball and restricted them to 291, helping Otago gain a 36-run lead. By the end of the day, Wellington managed to snap up the wicket of Mohammad Wasim to leave Otago at 14 for 1 when stumps were drawn.