Otago eye first-innings points
Northern Districts 281 for 8 (Wilson 96, Devcich 43*, Scott 2-38) trail Otago 321 by 40 runs
Otago had a good chance of taking the first-innnings lead against Northern Districts at close of play on the second day in Gisborne, but along the way they were given a fright by one of the five debut players in the ND team.
Brad Wilson scored 96 in a dominating innings for his side which took 264 minutes and which assured ND of at least a competitive chance in the match. The loss of Alun Evans (4), Matt Hart (5) and Daniel Flynn (2) left ND in trouble at 53 for 4. But Mark Orchard with 28 helped restore some structure to the innings. Then Joseph Yovich (41), Paul McGlashan (33) and Anton Devcich, with an unbeaten 43, pulled the side through to 281 for 8.
Otago ended the day slightly in front, but they struggled for a breakthrough after the initial onslaught and were required to use nine bowlers. Brad Scott fared the best with 2 for 38 off 23 over.
Canterbury 346 and 46 for 1 (Papps 30*) lead Central Districts 281 (Thompson 77, Griggs 75, Martin 4-42, Wiseman 3-73) by 111 runs
Like Otago, Canterbury were unable to make a substantial addition to their overnight score and were all out for 346. Lance Hamilton ended with 3 for 42.
Central Districts then struggled during the remainder of the morning session and at one stage were reeling in the face of the onslaught from Chris Martin and Hayden Shaw. The two had CD 80 for 5 before Bevan Griggs and Ewen Thompson combined in a 156-run stand for the sixth wicket. Thompson, who made his maiden first-class century in the previous round, made 77, while Griggs made 75.
Andrew Schwass made an unbeaten 31, but CD fell 65 runs short of Canterbury's first-innings total. Canterbury extended their lead to 111 runs by stumps with Michael Papps unbeaten on 30. The first-innings century-maker Peter Fulton was with him on 7.
Wellington 361 for 7 (Parlane 181*, Ryder 66) v Auckland
The Auckland-Wellington match started a day later than the other two games, but followed a similar course with Wellington being asked to bat first. The game was played on the main oval at Eden Park and Wellington, befitting its status as defending champion, showed the value of maximising their opportunities and scored 361 for 7 in the day.
That was largely thanks to a career-best, unbeaten 181 by Michael Parlane. His fourth century may yet provide him with a double-century. At 133 for 5, Wellington were far from comfortable but Parlane combined with Jesse Ryder, who scored 66 in a 120-run stand for the sixth-wicket that allowed Wellington to wrest back the initiative.
Auckland were not helped by the loss of Tama Canning, who only bowled in the morning session. However, Brooke Walker, the captain, picked up the slack and he had three wickets for 65 by stumps. Mark Gillespie, who has a highest score of 76 not out, is still with Parlane, so there is still much work for Auckland to do.