Franklin makes hay
James Franklin added weight to his desire to return to international cricket as a genuine allrounder, cracking a career-best 219 for Wellington in their drawn match against Auckland at Eden Park. 974 runs were scored and only 12 wickets fell in a rain-affected game, but the poor weather on day one didn't affect the sublime pitch. On the third day, Wellington made 419 runs and lost just one wicket as Franklin carved the ball all around Eden Park, reaching his second double hundred - beating the 208 he made, also against Auckland, in 2005-06. There were also hundreds for Matthew Bell (122), Luke Woodcock (102) and Tim McIntosh who fell nine short of his own double hundred. Replying to Wellington's 533 for 5 declared, Auckland reached 441 for 7 before the match drifted to a draw.
Central Districts eased to an eight-wicket win over Northern Districts in a tightly contested match in Hamilton, extending their lead at the top of the table. Central Districts took a first-innings lead of 154 thanks to a superb career-best 247 from Peter Ingram, the highest score by a Central player, beating Mathew Sinclair's 243 not-out last summer. Ingram's heroics rubbed off on his team-mates and they soon had Northern Districts in trouble when Jacob Oram bowled Cameron Merchant for 7. However, BJ Watling dug deep on the final day with a courageous 111 to give hope of an unlikely rescue-act by Northern Districts. It wasn't to be, as wickets tumbled at the other end. George Worker, the 19-year-old slow-left-armer, picked up 3 for 54 and Watling was last man out for 111.
Shanan Stewart's run-a-ball 69 took Canterbury to within seven runs of a thrilling victory over Otago in Invercargill before running out of time. Rain had scuppered the progress of the first two days, and it was only the intervention of both captains' sporting declarations which breathed life into a dying match. Replying to Otago's 352, Canterbury skipped to 174 for 5 declared with Michael Papps cracking 53. Otago then smashed 113 in 17 overs, with Hamish Rutherford carving 31 from 23 balls, to set Canterbury 292. Their chase was anchored by Andrew Ellis's patient 71, laying the foundation for Stewart's explosive fifty, but with three overs remaining Canterbury still needed a testing 34. Stewart took them close, he couldn't quite heave them over the line.