Wellington to host Canterbury in final
Wellington will host the State Championship final against Canterbury after they used their severely rain-affected match against Auckland as nothing more than batting practice. Grant Elliott, fresh from his Test debut, compiled a career-best 196 not out and Neal Parlane continued his prolific campaign with 110 as Wellington reached 444 at the Basin Reserve. Auckland needed a victory to have any chance of overtaking Canterbury on the points table but there was little they could do as bad weather meant no play was possible until well into the third day. Auckland barely had time to have a bat, fizzling out to 23 for 1 when bad light ended their season.
Canterbury were pleased with the rain in Wellington as they conceded first-innings points in their last preliminary match against Otago in Dunedin. They struggled against the all-round efforts of Warren McSkimming, who collected 5 for 56 as Canterbury stumbled to 247 having been sent in. McSkimming then helped rescued Otago from a precarious 134 for 6, scoring 71 and putting together valuable partnerships with Derek de Boorder and Bradley Scott to secure the lead. Todd Astle made an unbeaten 79 in Canterbury's second-innings 215 for 3 as the match petered out to a draw.
At McLean Park, the defending champions Northern Districts managed to avoid finishing on the bottom despite giving up first-innings points to Central Districts, who were left propping up the table. Brent Arnel finished with ten wickets for the match, his first such haul in first-class cricket, but the star was Ross Taylor. His 152 from 111 balls - he reached triple-figures from 85 - brightened up a game that was always heading for a draw. Taylor's effort came as Central Districts piled on 392 for 9 in their second innings, having scored 390 in the first, when Peter Ingram made 112. Arnel grabbed 6 for 82 in the first innings and four in the second, however his batting colleagues could not quite push in front of Central Districts and finished their only innings at 365, led by Daniel Flynn's 109. Arnel finished the preliminary rounds as the competition's leading wicket taker, with 33 at 20.93.