Andrew Ellis extends Canterbury dominance

A round-up of the Plunkett Shield matches that ended on March 20, 2015

Andrew Ellis goes for a big shot, New Zealand v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Napier, February 29, 2012

Andrew Ellis made 155 runs and took four wickets in the match  •  Getty Images

A brisk century from Andrew Ellis in the first innings and a rapid one from Neil Broom in the second were sown together by Matt Henry's four wicket burst to cement Canterbury atop the Plunkett Shield table. They beat Central Districts by 183 runs and stretched the lead from Auckland, their closest rivals in the tournament, by 27 points.
Though they were put in, Canterbury got a strong foundation from Ronnie Hira's 88 off 80 balls. Ellis and Henry Nicholls (74) came together at 218 for 4 and added 96 more runs. Central Districts may have hoped for the tail to pose lesser resistance but Henry strode out at No. 9 and blasted 46 off 27 for the total to balloon to 463 in 106.3 overs.
The reply was similar, and strong. Ben Smith struck 80 at the top of the order, Tom Bruce made an unbeaten 112 and Seth Rance struck a run-a-ball 40 at No. 10. Only the rest of the lower order was successfully muted and Central Districts finished at 350. Ellis made his match better with 4 for 75 from 20 overs from his medium pace.
A lead of 113 gave Canterbury the freedom they needed to switch from first-class to List A mode. Broom hammered 16 fours and a six during his 123 off 149 balls and Ellis walloped 43 off 23 with three sixes and four fours as they racked up 305 runs at 5.31 per over. A target of 419 went considerably beyond Central Districts' reach when only Will Young, with 75, and Greg Hay, with 46, were the major contributors. Henry took out four of the top-five, including the two top-scorers to finish with 4 for 74 from his 20 overs.
Wellington put in an all-round performance to beat Auckland by 213 runs at the Colin Maiden Park, despite conceding an innings lead. A second-innings ton from Michael Papps, and six scalps apiece from Matt McEwan and Andy McKay were the keys to their win over the home team.
Papps struck 21 fours and one six in his 265-ball 171, which was well supported by fifties from Stephen Murdoch (51), Michael Pollard (55) and James Franklin (56*). It helped in getting Wellington to 387 for 5 in their second innings after they resumed batting from an overnight score of 263 for 3.
Wellington's fast-bowling pair of McEwan and McKay, and offspinner Jeetan Patel each picked up three wickets, as they bundled out Auckland for just 168 in 68 overs.
Auckland, who chose to field on the first day, conceded 344 runs to Wellington in their first innings. Fifties from Deepak Joon (60), Brandy Barnett (65) and a late half-century from McEwan (52 off 68), who shared an 110-run eight wicket stand with Barnett, helped them past 300.
Auckland's right-arm quick Lachie Ferguson picked up 4 for 46, his best innings bowling figures.
In reply, Auckland declared on 350 for 7, with a slender six-run lead. Jeet Raval and Colin Munro both made centuries and shared a 201-run stand for the third wicket. Raval was caught behind off McEwan after striking 21 fours in his 266-ball 148, while Munro, who also got out in the same fashion, hit 17 fours and 4 sixes for his 125-ball 108.