Fulton double-century sinks Central Districts
A round-up of the Plunket Shield matches that ended on December 14, 2014
Canterbury captain Peter Fulton's unbeaten double-hundred in the second innings set up his team's 102-run win against Central Districts in Christchurch. However, it was Central Districts who made the early running in the match, as Canterbury, having been inserted, were bowled out for 269 in the first innings.
Fulton was the team's top-scorer with 76, but no other batsman could raise a fifty, as a six-wicket haul from Doug Bracewell (6 for 41) meant Canterbury were dismissed in 84.1 overs. Will Young (82) and Kieran Noema-Barnett (69) then led Central Districts' reply with half-centuries of their own, powering the team to 305 and earning a crucial 36-run lead.
Canterbury lost their opener Greg Dawson early in the second essay, but Fulton, coming in at No.3, batted for more than eight hours to make 209 not out. His knock included 20 fours and five sixes, and guided the team to 412 for 7, after which they declared.
This meant that Central Districts needed 377 for victory, but seven of their batsmen fell for single-digit scores, as they were bundled out for 274. Jamie How made 82 and Kruger van Wyk contributed 74, but both batsmen were hard-pressed to find partners who stayed long enough at the other end to really trouble Canterbury. Logan van Week was the pick of the bowlers, collecting 4 for 53, while Todd Astle and Andrew Ellis chipped in with two scalps each.
Otago nearly completed a stunning chase in the fourth innings, but Northern Districts held on for a 27-run win in Dunedin. Set a daunting 502 for victory, Hamish Rutherford gave Otago an ideal platform by scoring 74, before Michael Bracewell stroked his way to a sixth first-class ton - a 236-ball 147.
The Northern Districts bowlers, though, fought back with wickets at key intervals, and reduced their opponents to 372 for 9. However, Mark Craig and Jacob Duffy batted for the next 25 overs to defy Northern Districts. The pair's 102-run partnership, powered for the large part by Craig's 104, took Otago to within 27 runs of a famous win, but Scott Kuggeleijn bowled Craig in the 137th over, sealing Northern Districts' second win of the season.
Northern Districts had earlier made a bright start, posting 380 in their first innings thanks to half-centuries from Daniel Flynn (68), Brad Wilson (61) and Ish Sodhi (82*). They followed that up by bowling Otago out for 189, with Rutherford (78) posting a notable score. Sodhi followed up his first-innings fifty with a fine bowling performance, picking up 5 for 27 to rattle the team's middle and lower order.
With a massive 191-run lead in hand, Northern Districts scored 310 for 4 in their second innings before declaring. Their innings was built around a 127-run partnership between Brad Wilson (82) and Joe Carter, who drilled 16 fours and two sixes during his 125.
Six-wicket match hauls from Michael Bates and Matthew Quinn helped Auckland beat Wellington by six wickets at Basin Reserve, despite a shortened second day where only 29 overs of play was possible.
After being inserted, Wellington were shot out for 199 in 60 overs, with no batsman scoring a much-needed fifty. Apart from Brady Barnett who was trapped lbw, all the other nine wickets came as a result of a catch from one of the three Cachopa brothers - Carl, Brad and Craig. Auckland did not fare much better themselves in their reply, and lost wickets at regular intervals. However, handy knocks at the top of the order from Carl, Craig and Colin Munro helped the team to 205 for 9, to secure a six-run lead.
In order to force a result, Auckland declared and consolidated their advantage with another strong bowling performance. Bates (4 for 47) and Carl (3 for 20) wrecked Wellington's line-up in the second innings, restricting them to just 133, setting Auckland 128 for a win. The visitors overhauled that paltry total in 36.1 overs, thanks to a 59 from Munro.