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November 20, 2008
Captain Matthew Bell led from the front as Wellington crushed Canterbury by an innings and 42 runs at Basin Reserve. His 146, along with Luke Woodcock's all-round effort, condemned the defending champions to their second defeat in the competition: they had lost to Auckland in the tournament opener. Rain meant a delayed start, but Bell hit a rapid 88 on day one to make up for lost time. He brought up his 18th first-class ton on the second day. James Franklin (69) and Luke Woodcock (58) also contributed to Wellington's score of 428. A toothless display followed from Canterbury in their first innings. Franklin and Jeetan Patel picked up three wickets apiece. They did not fare better in the second innings after Wellington enforced the follow-on. Essex allrounder Graham Napier took three wickets, and Woodcock ran through the bottom half as Wellington gained sweet revenge for their defeat in the 2007-08 State Championship final.
Even rain on the final day could not prevent Auckland from crashing to a 138-run defeat against Central Districts in Napier. Brad Patton was clearly the star for the hosts, playing the anchor role in the first innings and bringing up his maiden first-class century in the second. Put in to bat, Central Districts ended on 213, riding on Patton's 57. However, Ewen Thomson's 5 for 57 on the second day ensured the lead stayed with the visitors. Auckland were reduced to 42 for 6 in reply, but some late hitting then from Auckland's lower order, notably Steven Croft (59), ensured they reached 207. Patton then stroked a well-made 142. He was involved in a 106-run partnership with Timothy Weston, and then added 93 with captain Matthew Sinclair. Central Districts were finally all out for 335 on third day, and soon had Auckland reeling at 159 for 6 by stumps. Scott Styris' 71 the previous day failed to inspire his team-mates as Brent Hefford ran through the Auckland lower order on day four. He finished with 3 for 48 as the opposition were dismissed for 203.
Otago had to be content with first-innings points against Northern Districts in Dunedin. They restricted Northern Districts to 275 after opting to field. Kane Williamson's 82 was the stand-out performance with the bat. The 18-year-old hit seven fours and a six in his 139-ball innings. Craig Cumming was the star during Otago's turn to bat. His 72-run partnership with Neil Broom (54) helped the hosts finish just two runs ahead. Trent Boult picked up 5 for 53 - his maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. By the time Northern Districts came out to bat the second time, early on the fourth day, it was too late to force a result. Neil Wagner picked up 3 for 32 as the visitors finished on 181 for 7.
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