Round two saw a slightly more even contest between bat and ball, and a thriller at Eden Park. That match was won by the hosts, but the star of the show was Doug Bracewell with a loud reminder of what he can offer.
When CD were 106/7 chasing 287 it looked as if Auckland were in for a comfortable win. But 102 from Bracewell with assistance from Joey Field meant they came within 25 runs of an upset win.
There wasn’t much close about the match at Hagley Oval where the dismal form of the defending champs’ top order, apart from Conway, continued for last week as Canterbury secured an innings win.
On the scorecard Northern Districts All Stars had a comfortable 90 run win over Otago at Bay Oval. But they only just got there, as the Otago last wicket stand hung around for 30 overs plus a lengthy rain delay.
First place Canterbury host second place Auckland in Rangiora in the next round.
It was a low scoring affair in Auckland with a century by Doug Bracewell being the highlight. He was also one of only three batsmen to reach double figures in the first innings.
Elsewhere there were half centuries for Chapman and Phillips for the hosts, and George Worker kept his fan club interested with 53 in CD’s first innings, being the last man out.
The former ND of Daryl Mitchell and Cam Fletcher both scored centuries for Canterbury, with Leo Carter making 87. It was Mitchell’s 9th and Fletcher’s 4th first class century.
For Wellington it was last week all over again with Devon Conway top scoring in the first innings before making 94 in the second. In that innings he had support from Jamie Gibson with a maiden century ending up unbeaten on 116.
At the Mount Joe Carter’s career revival continued with his third first-class century from his last six innings with an unbeaten 146, backing it up with 54 in the second innings. The All Stars also had fifties from Big Colin and Henry Cooper, while Anuru Kitchen, Nick Kelly and Cam Hawkins also hit half centuries with Hawkins posting a highest first-class score of 90.
Kyle Jamieson continued his stellar 2020 with 5/41 in the first innings which included a much viewed hattrick. Solia continued his early season form with 6 wickets in the match.
And Doug Bracewell rounded off his impressive match with 3/18 and 4/96.
In Christchurch there were maiden five wicket hauls for Fraser Sheat (5/25) and Willy Big Billy Williams (yes that’s his nickname) with 5/58.
There was also a 5 wicket bag for Tim Southee, with his mate Wagner bagging 4 in Otago’s first innings. Worryingly, Wagner bowled only 5 overs in the second innings. It would take a bit to drive him from the field.