Wellington 188 and 14 for 4 (Davidson 4-1) need another 235 runs to beat Canterbury 215 and 221 for 8 dec (Stewart 84*, Gillespie 6-42)
Michael Davidson devastated Wellington with four wickets in 11 balls to set Canterbury on the path to what could be their first State Championship title in a decade. Chasing 249 for victory, Wellington's top order disintegrated as they faced a nine-over spell before stumps and crashed to 14 for 4.
Davidson picked up 4 for 1 from his four overs, beginning with Matthew Bell bowled for 1. Michael Parlane followed for 0, Grant Elliott was lbw without scoring and Stephen Gellatly was bowled second ball, narrowly avoiding a king pair.
Wellington need only draw to collect the title but with no rain expected on the final day, they will require a remarkable fightback. At the close of the fourth day, Neal Parlane was not out on 5 and Chris Nevin was yet to score.
Canterbury, on the other hand, must win the match and their declaration at 221 for 8 gave them that opportunity. Shanan Stewart ground out an unbeaten 84 and Brandon Hiini's 37 was also important after Mark Gillespie appeared to put Wellington on top, finishing with a career-best 6 for 42.