Yovich and Aldridge take Northern Districts to title
Northern Districts 238 for 9 (Yovich 78*, Butler 5-55) beat Otago 189 (Butler 44, McCullum 33, Aldrigde 5-39) by 49 runs
Joseph Yovich and Graeme Aldridge led table-toppers Northern Districts to their fifth State Shield title in 14 years - their first since 2004-05. A splendid all-round effort from former New Zealand medium-pacer Ian Butler failed to avoid defeat for defending champions Otago, who fell 49 short replying to Northern Districts' 238 for 9.
Put in on a sluggish Seddon Park pitch, Northern Districts lost wickets regularly, and had lost half their side for 95 in 25.4 overs. BJ Watling's 28 was the highest score among the top six batsmen. Yovich's aggression, though, bailed his team out. He smashed six fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 76-ball 78 and ensured Northern Districts played out 50 overs. Aldridge contributed a 39-ball 36 to a 64-run stand for the eighth wicket with Yovich. Butler took 5 for 55 off his ten overs.
Otago, who were without captain Craig Cumming, Brendon McCullum and Neil Broom, all away on national duty, never seemed in the hunt during their chase. Aldridge struck twice to reduce Otago to 31 for 3, and although they recovered to 123 for 5 thanks to contributions from Aaron Redmond, Sean Eathorne and Nathan McCullum, the asking-rate continued to escalate. That was mainly due to an uncharacteristic 70-ball 17 from Dimitri Mascarenhas. The scoring was choked by economical ten-over spells from Bruce Martin and Kane Williamson, both of whom conceded only 23 runs.
Aldridge then struck thrice in eight deliveries to reduce Otago to 132 for 8. Butler replied with a brisk 44 off 23 balls but was dismissed soon before the innings folded for 189 in 45.4 overs. Aldridge finished with 5 for 39 in nine overs and his all-round display made him the Player of the Match.