Ferguson keeps Auckland on top with slim win
Chasing 218, Otago were bowled out for 207 in 49.3 overs and to add their woes, offspinner Mark Craig was struck flush on the hand by a Ferguson beamer while batting. The injury forced Craig off the field, and is likely to put him completely out of action for at least six weeks.
Ferguson was quick to dismiss the openers on the third day and leave Otago in early trouble at 33 for 2. Derek de Boorder counterattacked, but lacked support from the other end. He struck 81 off 76 before he was bowled by Ferguson. Allrounder Colin de Grandhomme complemented Ferguson well by taking two wickets. Auckland eventually walked away with 18 points.
The match was set up by Robert O'Donnell's 87, which helped Auckland to 255 in the first innings, and a lead of 78 runs, after they were asked to bat. Ferguson and Grandhomme had done the damage in Otago's first innings as well, with combined figures of 27.5 -8- 66-6. Opener Ryan Duffy carried his bat for 90* off 163, but the other end was a case of revolving doors as Otago were bowled out for 177.
Auckland collapsed to 139 within 51 overs in the second innings as Craig Smith took 4 for 35, but had the cushion of the first-innings advantage, and a solid bowling attack.
Having been inserted, Wellington made 206 on the back of England professional Scott Borthwick's century, which included 13 fours. After rain wiped out the second day, Canterbury, riding on fifties from openers Leo Carter and Michael Davidson, opted for a bold declaration at 159 for 2.
Fast bowler Hamish Bennett raised Canterbury's hopes with figures of 5 for 54, which dismissed Wellington for only 136, with only three batsmen managing double figures, the highest being Michael Papps' 51 at the top of the order.
However, Canterbury's hopes faded away as they succumbed to a collapse of their own. Each of their top-four batsmen reached double figures, but none managed a substantial contribution.
After being put in to bat, Northern Districts piled up 458 for 6 declared on the back of a 258-run partnership between Flynn and Popli. Opener Flynn struck 26 fours during his 158 while Popli collected 27 fours during his 172.
Central Districts were then bowled out for 293, with several of their batsmen failing to capitalise on their starts. Riding on a 165-run lead, Northern Districts put on 332 for 7, led by fifties from Dean Brownlie, Popli and Daryl Mitchell's 49-ball 72, before declaring to set a target of 498. Central Districts showed more fight in the second innings, but came up short. Tom Bruce led the way for them with 166 off 233 balls and No. 8 Bevan Small scored 76. Spinners Joe Walker and Anton Devcich wheeled away for 57.2 overs, to share eight wickets between them, to seal the win. Devcich finished with eight wickets in the match.