Plunket Shield: Canterbury surges to table top with win over Northern Districts

The first-class Plunket Shield has a new leader at the completion of round six, after Canterbury usurped Northern Districts at the head of the table this evening. Twenty-four-year-old opener Chad Bowes set up Canterbury s successful run chase at the Basin Reserve with his third first-class century (his second for Canterbury and in the Plunket Shield), reaching 149 before Henry Nicholls (an unbeaten 71) and Cole McConchie (47 not out) hunted down the remainder of the 324 target for victory in the final session.

Scorecard

Fresh from claiming the one-day Ford Trophy, Canterbury had headed into the resumption of the red-ball contest in second spot, but now holds an eight-point advantage over second-placed ND with four rounds remaining. The Firebirds have maintained their position in third spot, one rung above the Auckland Aces while at the foot of the table the Otago Volts’ first outright of the 2016/17 first-class season (against Northern Districts in Whangarei) has seen them clamber over the still-winless Central Stags into fifth.

The injury-hit Stags can, however, claim the season’s top wicket-taker after six rounds, off-spinner Ajaz Patel yet again leading the list with 30 victims so far this summer. Otago Volts captain Brad Wilson (510 runs) holds a narrow lead over Firebirds veteran Luke Woodcock (an even 500) on the run-scoring front.

Points table

All six teams now head into the ground-breaking seventh round, which marks the introduction of the pink ball to New Zealand first-class cricket. Starting this Monday 6 March, the third sessions of each day s play will be under lights at Seddon Park (Northern Districts v Central Stags), Eden Park (Auckland Aces v Canterbury) and Westpac Stadium (Wellington Firebirds v Otago Volts). All three matches will begin at 2.30pm, the advent of floodlit cricket seeing Wellington’s Westpac Stadium christened as New Zealand’s newest first-class venue.

Schedule

Round six, selected highlights

  • First-class debuts: Ben Horne, Anikhet Parikh, Raja Sandhu (Auckland Aces); Peter Younghusband (Wellington Firebirds); Michael Rippon also played his first first-class match for the Otago Volts
  • Firebirds captain Michael Papps scored his 11,000th first-class run
  • Matt Henry reached 150 first-class career wickets and claimed his seventh first-class five-wicket bag, as well as his 100th first-class wicket for Canterbury
  • Otago Volts teenage swing bowler Nathan Smith (5-56) claimed his maiden first-class five-wicket bag in only his third first-class appearance
  • Colin Munro became just the sixth player to score a century in each innings for the Auckland Aces, joining a list that includes the uncle of one of his debutant teammates in that match, Ben Horne (Matt Horne uncle)