Wellington cling on to a thrilling draw
Auckland 346 (Grandhomme 99*, Kitchen 95, Gillespie 5-66) and 345 (Hopkins 121, Barry 77, Gillespie 6-83) drew with Wellington 426 (Ronchi 135, Papps 57) and 199 for 8 (Brodie 86)
After four days of seesawing fortunes, it all came down to the last half an hour. Wellington's Harry Boam and Ili Tugaga survived the last six overs of the day in an unbeaten eighth-wicket stand to frustrate Auckland and hold on to a draw at Basin Reserve. Wellington were given a target of 266 but with less than two sessions to bat, a win was a distant option and a draw looked most likely. But two wickets off consecutive balls by Chris Martin in the second over brought the game to life.
Opener Josh Brodie scored a quick 86 to take Wellington beyond 100, but quick wickets in the middle order brought Auckland close to a win. It wasn't to be as Boam played out 58 balls and Tugaga blocked out 11 to help Wellington to cling on.
Auckland were put into bat and ended the first day on 319 for 5, with Anaru Kitchen and Colin de Grandhomme scoring big half-centuries, but Mark Gillespie brought Wellington back into the game on the second morning as Auckland lost last five wicket for 24 runs.
Wellington lost their top four for 152, but Luke Ronchi scored 135 and helped the team to take an 80-run lead. Auckland didn't have a good start to their second innings - they lost opener Michael Guptill-Bunce off the first ball - but they recovered as Gareth Hopkins scored a century and Michael Barry added 77. Auckland were bowled out on the fourth day for 345, with Mark Gillespie taking the second five-for in the match.
Northern Districts 108 (McEwan 5-20) and 217 for 4 (Watling 75*, Yovich 45, McCone 3-73) beat Canterbury 172 (Fulton 52, Arnel 5-55) and 149 (Latham 42, Aldridge 3-35, Arnel 3-38) by six wickets
Chasing 213 for victory, the Northern Districts batsmen achieved the target with more than a day to spare. An unbeaten 93-run partnership between Watling and James Marshall was the cornerstone of the chase, with important contributions from opener Joseph Yovich and middle-order batsman Brad Wilson.
The bowlers dominated the first two days. On the opening day, Canterbury were dismissed for 172 after choosing to bat first. Arnel was the most effective bowler for Northern Districts, taking 5 for 55 in 18 overs. Opener Peter Fulton was the only batsman to offer some resistance, scoring a doughty 52 before he was bowled by Arnel.
In reply, Northern Districts could only muster 108 as medium-pacers Shanan Stewart and Matt McEwan ran through the batting line-up to give Canterbury a 64-run lead. McEwan returned with a miserly five wickets for 20 runs in 12.4 overs. Canterbury didn't improve on their performance in the second innings - only three batsmen scored in double figures as Arnel, along with medium-pacers Graeme Aldridge, Anurag Verma and Daryl Mitchell struck at regular intervals to dismiss Canterbury for 149.