Graeme Aldridge's 11 keeps ND on top
After a ten-wicket win in the first round of matches, Northern Districts (ND) beat Central Districts (CD) by nine wickets in Whangarei. Set a modest target of 126 on the third day, thanks in no small part to the seamer Graeme Aldridge's match haul of 11 for 145, ND were eased home by Michael Parlane's unbeaten 66. With this win ND remained top of the pile with maximum points after two rounds.
CD had resumed the third day trailing at 178 for 5, and soon slipped when the overnight pair of Mathew Sinclair and Bevan Griggs was removed. Aldridge got Griggs to nick one behind early in the day, giving Peter McGlashan his record 12th catch. Aldridge picked up 5 for 96 as CD were bowled out for 310. That achievement, after he took 6 for 49 earlier to shoot CD out for just 94, made his the best bowling performance of all time against this opposition - surpassing DB Clarke's 10 for 78 record set in Whangarei in 1967-68.
ND made 279 in their first innings, with Anton Devcich and fellow rookie Jono Boult making important half-centuries, before Aldridge enjoyed a second outing against CD.
Peter Fulton's important runs for Canterbury in Rangoria helped in a 115-run win over Otago as well as earn him a recall to New Zealand's Test side. Fulton made 172 in the first innings to help Canterbury post 440 and then hit 77 as they declared on 265 for 5 in the second, setting Otago a massive 471 to win. They were bowled out for 355.
The impetus for the win was Canterbury's first innings total. Fulton's century was a massive contribution, after the openers Rob Nicol (75) and Michael Papps (51) launched a strong start. The next highest score was 35 as Sam Wells took five wickets. Shane Bond enjoyed a return to the four-day format with 4 for 63 to help keep Otago to 235, after which Canterbury posted 265 for 5 in 73 overs.
At the Basin Reserve, Wellington's Cameron Merchant converted an unplanned promotion into his maiden first-class century to help the hosts beat Auckland by 99 runs. A week after he was dismissed for 99, Merchant hit 108 for 128 balls on a flat track to put Wellington in a winning position heading into the final day.
Wellington, who declared at 280 for 5 in their second innings with a 362-run lead and after already securing two first-innings points, their first of the season, achieved the win by bowling out Auckland for 263.
Auckland, having opted to field, lost ground when Wellington made 356 with Mathew Bell (91) and Josh Brodie (103) adding 151 for the opening wickets. Auckland then declared their first innings at 274 for 9, conceding first-innings points. The opener Richard Jones hit a century while Jeetan Patel took 4 for 73.