All-round Woodcock gives Wellington six-run win
A flurry of wickets in the middle overs and then again towards the end saw Northern Districts fall six runs short of Wellington's total at the Cobham Oval in Whangarei. Chasing 244, ND reached 111 for 2 with BJ Watling and Scott Styris both having completed half-centuries, but their runs had come slowly with Watling striking at just 57.54. They paid for their poor run-rate as left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock took three quick wickets, removing Watling, Brad Wilson and wicketkeeper Peter McGlashan, and Jeetan Patel dismissed Stryis, leaving ND in trouble at 139 for 6 with less than 13 overs remaining.
Captain James Marshall almost rescued them with his 68 off 48 balls, but he was out to Grant Elliott, leaving ND with 17 to win off two overs with two wickets remaining. Seamer Mark Gillespie and Elliott held their nerve in the last two and took a wicket each to complete Wellington's first win in the competition. Wellington had reached a competitive total thanks to half-centuries from Woodcock, Stewart Rhodes and Neal Parlane. Woodcock's 50 came off 49 balls and gave Wellington the momentum they needed towards the end of their innings.
Lou Vincent led Auckland to victory against Canterbury at the Village Green in Christchurch, with his unbeaten 159 off 157 balls. Vincent and Jeet Raval, who smashed 42 off just 28 balls, got Auckland off to a flier in their chase of 296. Vincent kept the momentum going even as four quick wickets fell at the other end, and then found an able partner in Colin Munro, who got 62 off 71. Auckland won by six wickets with 14 balls still remaining in the end. Canterbury had scored slowly in the first half of their innings with opener Rob Nicol taking 127 balls to score 81, but they got 75 runs off the last five overs thanks to Andrew Ellis' 61 off 30 balls and Tom Latham's 28 off 14 balls. Auckland are now top of the table with eight points.
Five wickets from Nathan McCullum helped Otago defend 232 against Central Districts at Fitzherbert Park in Palmerston North and go joint-top of the table with Auckland and Northern Districts. Several of Otago's batsmen got starts, but only Darren Broom carried on to make a half-century, scoring 63 off 79 balls. McCullum also made an important contribution with the bat, scoring 33 and Neil Wagner hit two sixes in the nine balls he faced at the end. CD got off to a solid start in their chase, reaching 87 for 2. But McCullum, who had already dismissed both openers, took three quick wickets, and Jamie How was run out to leave CD reeling at 104 for 6. A 40-run partnership between Kruger van Wyk and Tarun Nethula put CD back in contention, but seamer Craig Smith came back to take the last three wickets and give Otago a 43-run victory. Smith finished with figures of 3 for 36, while McCullum took 5 for 39.