The Districts match in Nelson featured a couple of tactical declarations before a tense final day. Central was set 300 to win early on the last day and at 197/4 with the Run Rate under control they looked pretty good for the win. Despite Will Young’s heroics, a late collapse saw the ND All Stars win by 40 runs.
There was probably more drama in Alexandra. Canterbury dominated the first three days, taking a 331 run lead on the first innings and having Otago 4 down at the end of day 3. When the 8th wicket fell with 54 overs left a Cantab win seemed like a formality.
But Max Chu (41* off 230) with help from Muller 46 (97) and Rae 13* (56) saw the hosts hold on for a plucky draw. 31 overs for the ninth wicket and 21 overs for the unbeaten 10th wicket.
The match in Wellington was high scoring, but slow scoring, as the pitch seemed to die as the match progressed. It was mutually called to a halt halfway through the final afternoon after the visitors had batted out 116 overs in their second innings against an increasingly deplete attack, and were only 5 down..
Finally a range of centuries to report on. The highest score of the round was Ken McLure for Canterbury with 165. He had good support from test players Latham (63) and Nicholls who was returning from injury (87).
For Otago Hamish Rutherford led from the front with 72 in the second innings which set the tone for the late innings heroics.
For Wellington Devon Conway (157) ramped up the calls for him to have the must hyped debut for New Zealand since Dipak Patel. Guess who leads the run aggregates with 410 runs from seven innings at an average of 58.57 for this season.
Meanwhile Michael Bracewell (142) made his first century for Wellington.
For the visitors Mark Chapman top scored in the first innings with 95 while there were half-centuries to Philips, Horne and Jamieson. Chapman put is a solid double with 60 in the second innings while the top scorer was Graeme Beghin with 108; his second first class century.
In Nelson BJ Watling had a welcome double of 77 and 62* a couple of weeks out from the first test.
The likely 12th man (or X-FACTOR PLAYER as they are now known in the Big Bash) for that test Will Young scored an unbeaten 110 in CD’s unsuccessful chase.
Kyle Jamieson (5/85) now has a five-wicket bag in each of his last four first-class matches, starting with the test v India last summer which seems like five years ago.
And Darryl Mitchell’s rush of form continues after his move south with his maiden 5 wicket bag (5/44).
In Nelson Tim Southee had a handy match return of 7/103 while Seth Rance took 5/64; his seventh 5WI.
The Shield resumes on … March 11th 2021.