Peter Ingram scored an outstanding final-innings hundred to lead Central Districts to the State Championship final with a three-wicket win over Canterbury after they were set a target of 448 at Pukekura Park. Ingram scored 166 to ensure his team would take on league leaders Auckland in the final.
Ingram and his opening partner Jamie How laid the platform for the successful chase with a first-wicket stand of 159. How scored 93 before he was caught by Hamish Bennett off debutant Martin Kain but Ingram found another steady partner in George Worker, who scored 55. They put on a century stand for the second wicket and Central Districts were well placed to push for a win when Worker fell with the score on 274. But they suffered a blip thereafter, losing two wickets quickly, but Timothy Weston scored a brisk 89 not out to ensure victory. It was only the eighth time that a team had chased over 400 in New Zealand.
The prospects of a Central Districts win had seemed remote given the way the first three days had gone. Johann Myburgh starred in Canterbury's first innings, scoring 199 before he was unfortunately run out, and half-centuries from three other batsmen led them to 493. Michael Mason was Central Districts best bowler, taking 5 for 83.
Central Districts' position became worse after a first-innings collapse resulted in Canterbury taking a lead of 278. They were bowled out for 215 with Bennett and Leighton Burtt taking 4 for 48 apiece. None of the batsmen apart from Ewen Thompson, who blasted 51 off 28 balls, made a significant contribution.
Myburgh scored another century in Canterbury's second innings and shared a third-wicket partnership of 156 with Michael Papps, who scored 63. Canterbury declared soon after Myburgh reached his hundred with a lead of 447. They would have scarcely imagined that it would not prove enough.
A strong collective batting performance and a devastating spell from Daryl Tuffey helped Auckland beat Northern Districts by an innings and 16 runs at the Eden Park Outer Oval.
Led by Kane Williamson's 111 off 144 balls Northern Districts put up a reasonable 306 even though no other batsman went past 40. But that effort was overshadowed by Auckland's batsmen who scored heavily and shut Northern Districts out of the contest.
Anaru Kitchen and Colin de Grandhomme scored hundreds and Richard Jones and Reece Young made half-centuries as Auckland amassed 540. Joseph Yovich and Brian Aldridge took four and three wickets respectively but both conceded more than 100 runs.
Tuffey wrecked the Northern Districts top order when they batted a second time, reducing them to 13 for 3 in the 13th over. They tried to recover through a fourth-wicket stand of 132 between Michael Parlane and Williamson, who scored 85 off 108 balls in the second innings. But after that partnership was broken by Lance Shaw with the score on 145, Tuffey took three more wickets to bowl out Northern Districts for 218.
Wellington took points for a first-innings lead after their match against Otago ended in a draw at Basin Reserve. Rain ensured no play was possible on the final day.
Jeetan Patel took 5 for 65 to help restrict Otago to 270 in their first innings. They made a sound start, with openers Craig Cumming and Aaron Redmond adding 122, but slipped to 185 for 6 after Luke Woodcock made the initial breakthrough. Redmond's 76 off 93 balls was Otago's top score while Leighton Morgan also made 64.
Wellington were in deep trouble during their first innings and hopes of a first-innings lead were distant when they slipped to 98 for 6. However Chris Nevin and Dewayne Bowden scored half-centuries to get the innings back on track. They added 148 for the seventh wicket after which Patel chipped in with a quick 44 to give Wellington the lead. They declared on 325 for 9 with a lead of 55.
Otago batted splendidly in the second innings, reaching 257 for 2 at the end of the third day. Cumming scored a century and was well supported by Greg Todd who scored an unbeaten 94. But rain washed out the fourth day, giving Otago no points in the contest.