Arnel, Vettori star in Northern Districts win
Northern Districts fought back to beat Canterbury at the Mainpower Oval in Rangiora, winning their third game of the tournament and taking the lead in the points table. Asked to bat, ND were bowled out for 197 in their first innings, opener and captain Brad Wilson being the only half-centurion. Willie Lonsdale bagged six wickets to put his team ahead but ND hit back hard. Brent Arnel was the wrecker-in-chief as he bagged a five-for to bowl out Canterbury for 121 and earn his team a handy 76-run lead. Only wicketkeeper Reece Young put up any serious resistance, scoring 55.
The ND batsmen, in their second innings, ensured the advantage didn't slip. Wilson made 60, Joesph Yovich guided the innings with his fourth first-class hundred and James Marshall scored at a fair clip to make 92. There was more to come from the middle order. Daniel Vettori, Daniel Flynn and BJ Watling all chipped in with useful contributions to stretch their team's score to 426 for 7, at which point they declared.
Set 503 to win, Canterbury fought hard, putting in a better effort with the bat it wasn't enough. Opener George Worker made a half-century and the first three wickets yielded 155 runs. But the pressure increased manifold when Canterbury slipped to 202 for 6. Though Henry Nicholls managed an unbeaten 93 and shared a 76-run stand with Matt Henry down the order, ND were always ahead, making steady strikes. Vettori starred with a five-for while Arnel picked up three. Canterbury were bowled out for 368, sliding to their third defeat.
Wellington registered a comfortable seven-wicket win over Auckland at Colin Maiden Park. The stand-out performer for the winning team was seamer Mark Gillespie, who collected his maiden match haul of ten wickets in first-class cricket.
His 5 for 67 in the first innings helped Wellington bowl out Auckland for 320. There were half-centuries from Neal Parlane, Anaru Kitchen and Colin de Grandhomme and some support from the lower order but no contribution was substantial enough to stretch the score to imposing proportions. Openers Josh Brodie and Michael Papps led the way for Wellington in their reply. Brodie achieved a career-best score of 210, striking 30 boundaries in an innings that lasted more than eight hours. Papps made 111 in an opening stand of 236. Luke Woodcock made a half-century in the middle order, arresting a slide after Wellington lost four wickets for 63. The visitors eventually managed 479, securing a lead of 159.
Gillespie left his mark in the second innings as well, this time skittling Auckland for just 201. He ran through the middle order to bag his second five-for of the match and contributions of 83 and 56 from Kitchen and Colin Munro were the only ones of any significance in the Auckland innings. Wellington lost three wickets in the chase but a target of 43 wasn't going to put them under pressure.
Central Districts overcame Otago by five wickets in a game in which both teams made sporting declarations to give themselves a shot at victory after the entire first day was lost to rain at the Queenstown Events Centre.
Otago batted first and declared at 281 for 8 in 95 overs, opener Craig Cumming making 129 and Sam Wells chipping in with 59 in the middle order. CD replied by declaring on 198 for 6 in 66 overs. They were in trouble at 63 for 4 at one stage but wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk steadied the innings with an unbeaten 72. Though they conceded a lead of 83 by declaring early, CD backed themselves to do well with the ball in the second innings and the move paid off.
Thanks to a combined bowling effort, CD dismissed Otago for 115 in just 36.5 overs in the second innings. Otago seemed well placed at 89 for 2 at one stage, but they collapsed, losing eight wickets for 26. Kyle Jarvis picked up three wickets, so did Daniel Wightman; each of the five CD bowlers picked up at least a wicket each. In their chase of 199, CD were struggling at 53 for 4 but van Wyk again came to the rescue, scoring his second half-century of the match, making an unbeaten 74 to guide his team to victory in the company of Carl Cachopa, with whom he added a match-clinching 78. The win was CD's first in the competition.