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Wellington take Plunket Shield title after final-day washout

Northern Districts had given themselves a chance of pushing for victory but rain ended their hopes

Wellington were unbeaten throughout the Plunket Shield season  •  Margot Butcher

Wellington were unbeaten throughout the Plunket Shield season  •  Margot Butcher

Wellington have been crowned Plunket Shield champions after the final day against Northern Districts in Hamilton was washed out.
The match at Seddon Park was effectively a final with Wellington and Northern Districts the only two sides in with a chance of claiming the title in the final round.
Wellington had entered the game with a small lead at the top of the table and were able to accrue enough bonus points over the first two innings to stay ahead.
Northern Districts had given themselves a chance of claiming the title after Tim Seifert's century had earned them a small lead of 88 then they had Wellington 127 for 4 in their second innings but they were unable to get into the field on the final day.
"Ideally, you want to see the game go the distance, but it's a competition [where] you work hard throughout the season, we're unbeaten the whole season, so I think for me, we are the deserving winners," Wellington captain Tom Blundell said.
"It's a pretty special day. For me the Plunket Shield is probably the most rewarding trophy in domestic cricket, you play a whole season, and to come away with the Plunket Shield is pretty special memory."
Blundell had earlier played a key role with a century in Wellington's first innings to lift them 323 in a final-wicket stand of 77 with Ben Sears which earned vital bonus points.
Otago's Dale Phillips ended as the leading run-scorer for the season with 686 at 49.00 having hit two centuries in the final two rounds.
Central Districts' Greg Hay, who finished third with 643 runs at 49.46, announced his retirement from the game at the end of the season. He signed off with 179 off 434 balls against Otago.
Wellington's Nathan Smith was the top wicket-taker with 33 at 17.18 including two five-wicket hauls.