Provincial trolling and statchat aside, the Plunket Shield also acts as trial matches for the internationals ahead. The early rounds this season have extra importance in that the specialist test players get a decent amount of red ball cricket under their belts before the first test against England a month away. So here is a summary of the standout performances.
It was a contrasting round of results. The North Island v South Island match was a rain affected batting fest. The scoreboards read well from a NZ batting point of view; even though the best performers were mainly the T20 players.
The match at the Basin was pretty one-sided, but the best match of the round was at the Sandringham Road Mobil forecourt. A declaration on the last morning left defending champions CD needing 231 off 70 overs.
It’s a fine line between a genius declaration and a dumb one. When CD was 151/4 it looked like the latter; in the end it was brilliant.
Tim Seifert, who has been picked in the NZ Selection side to face England next week made the best of what’s likely to be his last 4 day match this year by scoring 119 against Canterbury. Team-mate and fellow NZ T20 rep Darryl Michell continued his journey with a career-best 170*
For the South Island XI there were centuries to McConchie and Nicholls.
Honourable mentions to future test batsman Devon Conway and Mitch Santner who both scored 96.
As for the specialist batsmen who are likely yo play in the first test at The Mount.
Raval 7 & 3
Taylor 2 & 18
Despite the result the bowling performance of the round was easily a career best for Otago captain Jacob Duffy with figures of 7/89 including a casual 6 for 17 in 26 balls with the second new ball.
In the same innings Nick Kelly had the interesting figures of 0-0-12-0. A couple of chest high full tosses his for a 4 and a 6 before he was removed from the attack in case you were wondering how that’s mathematically possible.
Elsewhere the real performances of note was Matt McEwan with a match-winning effort of 4/51 and 4/39 for Auckland, and Wellington left arm spinner Malcolm Nofal’s match return of 7 for 30.
This was the first in a new series of Plunket Shield wraps. Given the tournament has no radio coverage anymore someone has to do it. However, it is almost exclusively done by reading scoreboards and NZC Press Releases. If you happen to go to any of the matches and have some observations to make please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback. Cheers