Davidson's all-round efforts drive Canterbury home

Canterbury posted their second win over Central Districts in a week and had Michael Davidson to thank for the success in Christchurch, which pushed them to the top of the table. Playing his third first-class game, Davidson captured nine wickets for the match and his first half-century as his side sealed an eight-wicket, three-day victory.

Half-centuries to Peter Ingram (83), Bevan Griggs (55) and Timothy Lythe (52) pushed Central Districts to 226, but they managed only 148 in the second innings as Davidson added a career-best 5 for 39 to his 4 for 55 on the opening day. Michael Mason, the New Zealand bowler, hit 39 not out to extend the home team's target to 89 and then took the only two wickets to fall. Davidson's 56 and 82 not out from Kruger Van Wyk were essential in getting Canterbury to 286 and they did not let go off their first-innings advantage.

The previous leaders Wellington slumped to an embarrassing two-day defeat to Otago after their first-innings 76 was followed by 150 in Dunedin. Wellington needed 267 to make the home team bat again and the total was a long way from their reach as Bradley Scott picked up 4 for 36 and Nathan McCullum captured 3 for 20 to end the match before its scheduled halfway point.

After their successful first day, which was sealed with James McMillan's four wickets, Otago showed there were no problems with the pitch by making 342. The opener Craig Cumming fell seven short of a century and was well supported by Aaron Redmond in a stand of 134. Redmond finished with 56 while Greg Todd, the No. 3, added 48. Michael Burns and Charlie Shreck limited the damage with three wickets each, but Wellington were soon in more trouble when they batted for a second time. They stay on 24 points while Otago move closer to the top three with 16.

It took six rounds but the defending champions Northern Districts finally have their first win on the board after beating Auckland by seven wickets in Gisborne. In a low-scoring match Gareth Hopkins was the only man to threaten a big score, before he fell for 99 in the first innings as Auckland reached 186.

Peter McGlashan (51) helped Northern Districts secure a handy lead as they made 283 despite Colin de Grandhomme's 4 for 65. Another Hopkins half-century - he made 52 - could not mask Auckland's troubles and Tim Southee's seven wickets for the match left the home side needing only 101 for victory. James Marshall and Daniel Flynn guided them home early on the fourth day.