Otago survive through Broom ton
Northern Districts 204 (Sodhi 48, Butler 4-39) and 533 for 6 dec (Flynn 182, Anderson 167, Wilson 54, Yovich 50) drew with Otago 298 (Neesham 124, Butler 61, Arnel 5-74) and 353 for 8 (Broom 146*, Craig 93, Baker 3-74)
In Hamilton, Otago narrowly avoided defeat in a close final-innings chase to end up with a draw against Northern Districts. Chasing 440 to win, they had lost seven wickets for 191 before a 149-run partnership between middle-order batsman Neil Broom, who scored an unbeaten 146, and No. 9 Mark Craig saved them.
Northern Districts, after being put in to bat, didn't start strongly. No one scored a half-century, but a 48 from 20-year old Ish Sodhi, who came in to bat at No. 8, helped them score 204. Seamer Ian Butler, who played his last Test for New Zealand in 2004, took 4 for 39 in his 17 overs. Otago also lost wickets regularly when they batted, and were in trouble at 42 or 5, largely due to seamer Brent Arnel, who ended with 5 for 74. A century from Jimmy Neesham helped Otago go past Northern Districts' first-innings score. Neesham repaired the innings through a 137-run stand with captain Derek de Boorder, and through productive partnerships with the lower-order batsmen, took Otago to 298.
Their opponents, though, piled up 533 for 6 in their second innings. After a positive start by the openers, Daniel Flynn, through his knock of 182, registered the most first-class centuries (12) for Northern Districts, and Corey Anderson (167), who stuck with him for a mammoth partnership of 283, struck his maiden first-class hundred.
The stand is Northern Districts' highest fourth-wicket stand, and is also their highest for any wicket against Otago. They came within 27 runs of the highest fourth-wicket partnership in Plunket Shield history.
"With the way Corey was hitting the ball, it's easy to get a little bit ahead of yourself but he's got a pretty mature head on those shoulders and you saw that today with that knock," Flynn, who is selected for the Tests against Sri Lanka, said about his 21-year old partner to Fairfax News NZ.
The stand changed the complexion of the game and Otago were left chasing a target of 440. Otago's chase was spirited, and for their sustained resistance, they gained five points in the match, one more than Northern Districts, and stood at the second place in the Plunket Shield table.
Central Districts 430 for 9 (Cachopa 179, van Wyk 45, McClenaghan 3-107) and 149 for 6 (Raval 48, McClenaghan 3-55, B Martin 3-44) beat Auckland 210 (B Martin 56*, Munro 47, Lamb 4-65, Nethula 3-30) and 365 (Munro 103, Kitchen 60, Bates 59, Nethula 4-67, Mathieson 3-71) by four wickets
A strong final-innings bowling performance wasn't enough to prevent Auckland's four-wicket defeat against Central Districts in Napier. After conceding a 220-run first-innings lead, Auckland fought their way back into the contest, scoring 365 after following on, and took six wickets in their opponents' chase, but it wasn't enough to avert defeat.
Central Districts, led by No. 3 Carl Cachopa, who scored his fifth first-class century in six games, put up a strong batting performance after being put in to bat. Cachopa remained unbeaten on 179, and struck partnerships worth more than 50 with four batsmen. They included two worth 81 each, for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk and for the eighth wicket with spinner Tarun Nethula. Van Wyk was the second-highest scorer with 45.
Nethula, who hasn't been included in New Zealand's squad to tour Sri Lanka, claimed seven wickets in the match. He is now the highest wicket-taker this season.
Auckland made a weak reply, as seamer Andrew Lamb shook the top order with four wickets. They were in trouble at 101 for 6, but an unbeaten half-century from No. 8 Bruce Martin, and contributions from former New Zealand wicketkeeperGareth Hopkins and Colin Munro helped their team past the 200-run mark.
They seemed to be heading for a comprehensive defeat when, after following on, they were struggling at 98 for 4, needing another 122 runs to make Central Districts bat again. But a fightback was led by Hopkins, who scored a century, Anaru Kitchen (60) and Michael Bates (59). A total of 365, however, wasn't enough to challenge their opponents.
Seamer Doug Bracewell took four wickets in the match, while Chris Martin, who is also a part of the Test squad to play against Sri Lanka, took two wickets.
Auckland lost wickets regularly in their chase, and were six wickets down in the 42nd over for 120. But the target was eclipsed three overs later. With the win, Central Districts gained 19 points to lead the Plunket Shield table.