Canterbury go top after Bowes' 149 secures final-session win
Chad Bowes followed up a two-ball duck in the first innings with a match-winning 149 against Wellington to take Canterbury to the top of the table. The seven-wicket win, chasing 324 at Basin Reserve, arrived during the final session of the match. This after Matt Henry's four wickets (match haul of 9 for 137) helped dismiss Wellington for 269 early on the last day. Bowes' 149 (25 fours, one six) took Canterbury to 236 before he was out, following which unbeaten knocks from Henry Nicholls (71) and Cole McConchie (47) steered them home.
Canterbury overcame a first-innings deficit of 54 runs in their win. After half centuries from Michael Papps (76) - who also scored his 11,000th first-class run - and Hamish Marshall (69) helped Wellington to 297 in the midst of a Henry five-for, they returned strongly to bowl out Canterbury for 243. A lone hand from Peter Fulton (79) displayed some resistance for Canterbury in the first innings even as Anurag Verma's four wickets crippled the visitors. Wellington's 269 - Stephen Murdoch top scored with 56 - set Canterbury the stiff target of 324 to chase on the final day, but Bowes, Nicholls and McConchie were up to the challenge.
Colin Munro was told by New Zealand coach Mike Hesson to return to the Plunket Shield and regain confidence after a difficult start to the year. He responded in magnificent fashion for Auckland at Colin Maiden Park, with barnstorming twin centuries, the 11th and 12th of his career: a first innings 146 off 109 balls followed by 142 off 103 deliveries. The opening day had been abandoned due to a damp area on the pitch and although Central Districts, who are at the bottom of the points table, tried to manufacture a result by declaring behind on the third day, the match petered out to a draw.
But it was a memorable few days for Munro, who had made seven single-figure scores in ten previous innings in 2017. Though there was a T20 century included against Bangladesh, his lack of consistency had been highlighted by Hesson following a first-ball duck in the T20 against South Africa. When play began on the second day, Munro scored an 84-ball hundred and added 210 for the fourth wicket with Rob Nicol (86) to take Auckland to 385 for 5 declared. Central Districts fell to 66 for 5 in reply, but Tom Bruce's unbeaten 127 enabled them to pull out 129 behind. Munro then got going again, racing to a 60-ball century and took his match tally to 12 sixes. The declaration finally came with a lead of 389 but less than two sessions remained and a result was never on.
Anaru Kitchen followed up his 143 not out in the Ford Trophy against Northern Districts three weeks ago with another unbeaten century against them to take Otago to a five-wicket win in the Plunket Shield. This was Otago's first win in the Plunket Shield and lifted them out of bottom place. Kitchen's unbeaten 120 came in a chase of 289 that was set up primarily by BJ Watling's 96 and Joe Walker's 87 at No. 9, after Northern Districts had been reduced to 0 for 3 and, subsequently, 61 for 5 in their second innings. The pair put on 91 for the eighth wicket, and Walker then added 64 for the ninth with James Baker to lift them to 286.
Otago's bowlers all chipped in with wickets, although Nathan Smith followed up his first-innings five-for with only one in the second. This after Scott Kuggeleijn's 5 for 68 had inflicted a collapse that saw Otago fall from 242 for 4 to 276 all out and concede a lead of 2. Kitchen struck 76 in the first innings and put on 138 for the fifth wicket with Derek de Boorder (89). De Boorder fell cheaply in the chase, but his wicket was followed by partnerships of 86 and 85, and opener Brad Wilson's 74 played the supporting act to Kitchen's 120 off 146, as they completed the win in the 74th over.