<
>

Canterbury skittle Central Districts for 86 in stunning comeback

File photo - Todd Astle's 5 for 36 helped bowl out Central Districts for their lowest score against Canterbury BCCI

Defending 157, Canterbury bowled Central Districts out for 86 on the back of legspinner Todd Astle's 5 for 36 to register a 71-run win. At one point, Astle and offspinner Tim Johnston were both on a hat-trick in consecutive overs as Central Districts stumbled from 41 for 2 to 42 for 6. Johnston returned figures of 3 for 33 as Central Districts were skittled for their lowest score against Canterbury.

Canterbury's stunning comeback began with a 71-run opening stand between Peter Fulton (40) and Michael Davison in the second innings after the side had surrendered a 197-run first-innings lead. Henry Nicholls struck a 205-ball 98 and surpassed 2000 first-class runs for Canterbury, while wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher chipped in with a patient 58. Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel finished with 5 for 118 to finish with match figures of 10 for 159.

Canterbury were bowled out for 202 in the first innings, with Astle the top-scorer with 53. Central Districts responded strongly and posted 399 after wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver's second first-class century, a 180-ball 104 that included 11 fours and three sixes. Greg Hay (89), Will Young (52) and Ben Wheeler (58) contributed with half-centuries.

Defending champions Auckland chased down 373 for a tense two-wicket win over Otago, set up by Colin de Grandhomme's unbeaten 144 off 147 deliveries.

Auckland began the fourth day at 101 for 2 and lost opener Michael Guptill-Bunce for 70 early on. That brought de Grandhomme to the crease and he went on to add 143 for the fourth wicket with captain Rob Nicol, who was on 7 overnight. Nicol was dismissed for 65 by Christi Viljoen and the Otago seamer paired with Neil Wagner to open up Auckland's lower order. De Grandhomme, however, thwarted their efforts by hitting 18 fours and five sixes in his innings. Viljoen finished with 5 for 101 while Wagner took three wickets on the final day to take his match tally to 8 for 113, having taken a five-for to demolish Auckland for 145 in their first innings.

Apart from de Grandhomme's century, another important performance for Auckland was Tarun Nethula's 10 for 124, his second ten-wicket haul in first-class cricket. Nethula's 6 for 36 bowled Otago out for 164 after they were put in to bat, with the only significant contribution coming from Brad Wilson, who scored 56.

Nethula then took 4 for 88 in the second innings as Otago stretched their 19-run first-innings lead to 372, riding on Neil Broom's 161. Broom was well-supported by Josh Finnie (60) who was part of a 112-run stand for the third wicket. Batting at no. 3, Broom ensured Otago's lead climbed past 300 before falling to Dane Hutchinson. Broom's 18th first-class century came off 226 balls and included 20 fours and three sixes.

Rain scuppered the first day and part of the second to ensure Wellington didn't have enough time to push for an outright win against Northern Districts at the Basin Reserve. After just 6.1 overs on the first day, Wellington's seamers exploited useful conditions to reduce Northern Districts to 125 for 6 a little after tea on the second day. Allrounder Scott Kuggeleijn then smashed his third first-class century, a 130-ball 112, to lift Northern Districts to 285. Fast bowler Hamish Bennett returned 4 for 54.

Luke Woodcock continued his fine form by striking a patient 120, his eighth first-class ton. Wellington declared their innings at 376 for 8 on the final day, after fifties from Michael Pollard and Tom Blundell. Kuggeleijn picked up his 150th first-class wicket during his 3 for 99. Northern Districts crawled to 156 for 6 in 78 overs before the match was drawn.