Arnel, Aldridge help keep Northern Districts top
Northern Districts thrashed Canterbury by 241 runs at Seddon Park in Hamilton. In a low-scoring first innings, Northern Districts gained an 18-run lead after being bowled out for 169. They capitulated against a five-for from seamer Matt Henry but Brent Arnel put them ahead with 5 for 43, skittling out Canterbury for 151.
The Northern Districts batsmen ensured they consolidated that advantage, making amends for their failure in the first innings by piling up 436 for 9. No batsman from either team managed a half-century in the first innings. This time, Hamish Marshall top-scored with 138, added 163 with his identical twin James, who fell just two short of a century. Brook Hatwell, too, chipped in with a half-century. Set a target of 455, an early burst from seamer Graeme Aldridge reduced Canterbury to 67 for 5 at one stage, but there was some resistance from the lower order. Andrew Ellis fought, making 86, and was supported by Todd Astle and Ryan McCone but their efforts weren't enough. Aldridge and Arnel shared nine wickets, bowling their opponents out for 213.
Northern Districts took 16 points from the game and lead the table.
Wellington's new-ball pair of Andy McKay and Scott Kuggeleijn took 13 wickets between them to give their side a 286-run win over Otago at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The win was Wellington's first of the season and got them off the bottom of the table. They had two solid batting efforts, reaching 312 in the first innings and 371 in the second. Otago had responded to their first-innings effort with 242 but, set a target of 442, crumbled to 155 all out.
The 19-year-old Kuggeleijn took 4 for 50 in the fourth innings to seal the victory. Craig Cumming, coming off a century in Otago's Ford Trophy match against Northern Districts, scored 61, but that was the only decent contribution. In the first innings it had been McKay who took four wickets, while Kuggeleijn took three. The duo had reduced Otago to 53 for 4 before contributions from the middle and lower-middle order, including a half-century from Neil Wagner, revived the visitors' innings. Wagner's 61 followed his seven-wicket haul in the first innings, which had threatened to skittle Wellington for a low score. James Franklin scored 50 and Luke Woodcock's form with the bat continued as he went past fifty for the third time this season.
Their second innings was steadier, with Stephen Murdoch's 74 laying a solid base before Woodcock and Franklin again made the telling contributions. Franklin got his first hundred of the season while Woodcock's second fifty of the match means he finished the game with an average of 99.75 after four games.
Auckland came out of their high-scoring match against Central Districts at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland with seven points, while the visitors had to settle for six. Both sides received three points each for going past 350 within 110 overs of their first innings; Auckland picked up four points for taking nine wickets within 110 overs of Central District's first innings while the visitors managed just seven wickets in the first 110 overs of Auckland's response.
Central Districts were in trouble at 139 for 5 after being put in before Kieran Noema-Barnett's maiden first-class century led a fightback, and they went on to score 367. Auckland's response was led by centuries from Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme. It was the second hundred of the season for both and they helped take Auckland to 447.
Central Districts' openers were back at the crease in the second session of the third day and Peter Ingram seemed to be pushing for a win with his quick century. The rest of the batsmen scored slowly, though, and they reached 367 for 6. Mathew Sinclair got his second unbeaten century of the season as the game ended in a draw.