State Shield 2004-05 February 12, 2005

Northern Districts triumph in low-scoring final

Northern Districts 190 for 9 (Hamilton 3-44) beat Central Districts 170 (Sinclair 50, Aldridge 4-38) by 20 runs

Daniel Vettori had shone with the bat in earlier matches, but it was his captaincy that won the day in the final © Getty Images

What should have been the showpiece of New Zealand's domestic cricket, the State Shield final, turned into another damp squib as a result of the pitch at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park.

The two best teams qualified for the final, and after some of the cricket they had played this year, it was reasonable to expect a high-scoring contest. But it wasn't to be. Overnight rain meant the pitch favoured the medium-fast bowlers and batsmen rarely had an opportunity on the slow, holding pitch.

Too often in New Zealand the conditions have dictated, and this was yet another example. Under the circumstances, Daniel Vettori, the ND captain, demonstrated his knowledge of the captaincy craft in an emphatic manner that left no doubts his future prospects as a leader of his county. To defend 190 against a team that has made run-scoring the feature of its campaign this year, on a ground that he had never played on before, was an exceptional effort.

ND were asked to bat first and would have been concerned over their lowly total, but it didn't show in the field. Of their batsmen Alun Evans, the Glamorgan professional, played a watchful innings that grew in stature the further the innings went. He scored 39, but in the end it was worth much more. So too, were the lower-order contributions by Peter McGlashan (19 not out), Joseph Yovich (17) and Daryl Tuffey (13)

CD made a calculated start in their chase for their target with Jamie How (14) and Craig Spearman (10) getting them through the first stages. But Vettori's decision to bowl his spearheads, Graeme Aldridge and Daryl Tuffey, for longer than usual proved worthwhile and they got the breakthrough which left CD 32 for 3.

Mathew Sinclair batted well, but while his captain attempted to see the side through, he lost partners too regularly and was left on 40 not out at the end. Aldridge again did the damage, taking four for 38 off nine overs, and in the process he broke the record for most wickets in a domestic summer in New Zealand. He ended with 30, two more than Andre Adams's old record.