Today it was a tale of two declarations: a sporting one from Daryll Cullinan, and a perplexing one from Gerald Dros of Northerns:
Shield - 4th day
Easterns 515 for 7 dec and 117 for 4 dec drew with Eastern
Province 379 and 147 for 4 (Thyssen 60*)
After Eastern Province avoided the follow-on and Ian Mitchell lost his wicket for 35, all spark seemed to go out of the match at Port Elizabeth, but after a declaration, with EP still 136 behind, the ball was squarely in Daryll Cullinan's court. He sportingly replied with another declaration, closing at 117 for 4 and setting EP a target of 254 off 57 overs. But after a wicket went down second ball, EP decided there was no point in chasing the target, and settled for playing out the draw. Their 19-year-old batsman Craig Thyssen recorded his highest first-class score of 60, while Wade Wingfield added 43 to his first-innings 88.
Gauteng 194 for 5 dec and 109 for 4 (van Jaarsveld 53*) drew with
Northerns 219 for 6 dec (Aronstam 63, Kemp 71*, Mafa 4-42)
The rain-affected match at Centurion (no play was possible on the first two days) took a slightly controversial turn when Gerald Dros declared Northerns' innings at 219 for 6, to deny Gauteng any more bowling points. It was a perplexing decision: with 35 overs still available for bonus points, and Justin Kemp going well with 71 not out (six fours and four sixes), Dros's closure allowed his nearest rivals, Easterns, to stay in touch. If Northerns had batted on and scored another 100 runs, the gap would have been three points - not 0.978, as it is now. Even if Gauteng had bowled them out they wouldn't have made any inroads into Northerns' points lead. With nothing left in the game, Gauteng batted out the remaining overs to end on 109 for 4 with young Vaughn van Jaarsveld stroking nine fours and a six in his undefeated 53.