Hamish Marshall guides Northern Districts to victory
Northern Districts swept to the top of the State Championship table with their third win out of five, beating Otago by four wickets at the University Oval in Dunedin. The win, though, wouldn't have been possible without a sporting declaration by Craig Cumming, the Otago captain. Resuming at 21 without loss - an overall lead of 88 - Otago moved along to 179 for 4, thanks to half-centuries from Cumming and Jordan Sheed, before declaring their innings. That left Northern Districts with an eminently gettable target of 247, and solid contributions from their top order ensured they got the runs. Hamish Marshall led the way with an aggressive 98-ball 86 - with 12 fours and two sixes - while Alun Evans, the opener, played a fine supporting act with a patient 55. Bradley Scott's left-arm medium pace fetched him three wickets, but it wasn't enough to prevent Northern Districts from easing to victory.
Iain O'Brien and Luke Woodcock turned in excellent performances with the ball to help Wellington to a 123-run win against Canterbury at Basin Reserve. Wellington declared their second innings at 248 for 8 early on the final day, leaving Canterbury a stiff target of 322 for victory. They started promisingly, with an opening-wicket stand of 101 between Todd Astle and Michael Papps, but once Woodcock, a left-arm spinner, broke through, the rest of the batting crumbled. Eight of the nine remaining batsmen fell for single-digit scores, and though Papps continued the fight, he too fell to Woodcock for 93. O'Brien wrapped up the last two wickets to finish with 4 for 67, while Woodcock had 4 for 55. The win was Wellington's second of the championship, and puts them level with Canterbury on 18 points, just two behind leaders Northern Districts.
The third game in this round of matches had finished on Wednesday, with Auckland completing a comprehensive eight-wicket victory against Central Districts at McLean Park in Napier.