Southee, Ronchi shine; Northern Districts win
Northern Districts 403 for 8 (Southee 156) and 196 for 4 (Williamson 121*) beat Wellington 206 (Ronchi 113, Southee 5-69) and 390 (Ronchi 108, Kuggeleijn 83, Sodhi 5-128) by six wickets
Tim Southee and Luke Ronchi were outstanding for their respective teams at Karori Park. Ronchi, who qualifies for New Zealand next month, made a century in each innings and took eight catches for Wellington, but his efforts could not redress the damage caused by Southee's exploits on the first day. Southee blitzed his maiden first-class century, from No. 8, for Northern Districts and then wrecked the Wellington top order. He set up an advantage that culminated in Kane Williamson's unbeaten century clinching a six-wicket win for Northern Districts on the final day, despite the second being lost to rain.
Northern Districts took 20 points from the game, while Wellington had only three. It was their first victory of the season, though, and they remained at the bottom of the league; Wellington were fourth.
Northern Districts were in trouble after choosing to bat. They had slumped to 161 for 6, with six of their top seven batsmen getting starts but no one scoring a half-century. Southee came to the rescue with an innings of astonishing force. He hit half a dozen sixes and 18 fours on his way to 156 off 130 balls, adding 166 for the seventh wicket with Daryl Mitchell and 69 for the eighth with Graeme Aldridge. Northern Districts declared on 403 for 8, soon after Southee was dismissed.
Wellington played only nine overs on the first day and in that time Southee reduced them to 32 for 4. Northern Districts' intentions of shutting Wellington out of the game were put on hold, though, with rain washing out the second day, and they met with stiffer resistance on the third. Wellington had slumped to 67 for 7 before their No. 8, Ronchi, began to rally. Ronchi hit six sixes in his innings of 113 off 94 balls and put on 102 with Jeetan Patel for the eighth wicket. He was the last man dismissed, with his team on 206, falling to Southee, who finished with 5 for 69.
Trailing by 197, Wellington were asked to follow on and they slumped again, to 108 for 5, before Ronchi revived them once again. He had more support this time, from Luke Woodcock who made 49, Scott Kuggeleijn who made 83, and Dane Hutchinson who made 45. Ronchi scored 108 off 119 balls and became one of legspinner Ish Sodhi's five wickets, after which the tail carried Wellington to 390.
Chasing a target of 194, Northern Districts lost Brad Wilson first ball and Joseph Yovich in the 11th over. Williamson held the chase steady, though, with an innings of 121 off 142 balls, and his unbeaten stand of 75 with James Marshall secured victory.
Otago 427 (ten Doeschate 118, Patel 4-86) and 227 for 4 dec (Wagner 65, ten Doeschate 54*) drew with Central Districts 449 (Sinclair 142, Wagner 4-103)
Otago earned a point more than Central Districts did - 7-6 - in Dunedin, where the teams played out a draw that did not enter the fourth innings. Central Districts stayed on top of the league, while Otago were second. Both teams have played a game more than the others though.
After losing two wickets in their first nine overs, Otago batted into the second day, with four batsmen - Aaron Redmond, Sam Wells, Mark Craig and Neil Wagner - making 60s and Ryan ten Doeschate scored 118. AY Patel, playing his second first-class game, took 4 for 86 as Otago were dismissed for 427.
The Central Districts reply was strong, with the openers adding 107, Carl Cachopa scoring 55 and Matthew Sinclair making 142. There was a small blip when they slipped from 222 for 2 to 241 for 5 but lower-order contributions helped Central Districts take a lead of 22. Wagner took 4 for 103 as they were dismissed for 449.
Otago began their second innings on the third evening and batted through the last day, finishing on 227 for 7 by the time the match was called off.