This was a round that had added interest due to most of the squad returning from India taking part.
The most interesting match was in Hamilton where Northern Districts prevailed by 21 runs in a match notably dominated by the bowlers. There wasn’t a half century in sight.
40 wickets fell for 617 runs in the ND/Cbury game, the fewest runs in a Plunket Shield match where 40 wickets fell since 2002. #uselessstats
— Niall Anderson (@NiallGunner) November 7, 2016
The other matches were rain affected. Perhaps Auckland could have made more of a chase in their high scoring match against Wellington finishing 66 short with four wickets still in hand. In Dunedin, Central Districts who were behind for the whole match did well to bat out 103 overs in the final innings to earn themselves a draw.
There is a real pattern developing with Jeet Raval. This round’s version of knocking politely, but not too loudly, on the door was 84 and 19. His fellow opener on the NZ “A” match, Dean Brownlie made 5 and 30 in the match where nobody scored runs.
Hamish Rutherford continued his all-or-nothing season with innings of 18 & 110(107); the second innings unselfishly chasing quick runs in a rain shortened match. And there were a couple of decent knocks from the returning incumbent Martin Guptill with innings of 58 and 128*
Luke Woodcock carried on from the previous rounds with an unbeaten 203 over a day and a half. He followed it up with a golden duck. He went past coach Bruce Edgar (6494 runs) to become Wellington’s second highest all-time runscorer in first-class cricket. He now has 6557 first-class career runs for Wellington; Matthew Bell with 6565 is in his sights. But the Michael Papps Fan Club didn’t have a great time of it with scores of 1 & 3.
Henry Nicholls scored 98 and got named NZ “A” captain last week. This round he scored 0 & 15.
Guptill-Bunce scored 109 and Kitchen, now with Otago, scored 133 with the only centuries scored by non-openers. Broom lost his recent momentum with a couple of failures while the rated Tom Blundell continued his good form celebrating his selection for higher honours with 85 and a quick fire 45 when quick runs were needed.
Tom Bruce, ODI debut beckoning, got a couple of qucik knocks of 83 & 55.
A new category this week given the return of the players from India, and the injury to Mitchell Santner.
In theory Todd Astle is the most Santer like of the replacements. He didn’t get any runs this round but he did take 3/20.
Corey Anderson scored 35 & 23 which, in the context of that match wasn’t bad. He took a couple of wickets but the fact he bowled only 11 overs in the match should be noted.
Neesham failed twice with the bat, but a match haul of 5/62 balanced that out. He bowled 22 overs, and seems to have been underutilised, presumably under instruction, on the last day.
Welcome back Tim Southee, with a return of 5/39 and 2/44 in bowler friendly conditions. You would think he is back up the pecking order along with figures of 3/38 and 3/32 at a rated well under 2RPO.
Doug Bracewell is still in the mix. A match return of 5/100 didn’t do his chances any harm, and he scored 68 runs without being dismissed too.
Ish Sodhi 7/105. Jeet Patel 4/138. But factoring in the difference in overall scores between the two matches there probably isn’t a lot between those returns.
Nethula took 5/71 when Wellington looked for quick runs in the second innings but went for over 100 wicketless runs in the first innings.
Note that there will be no more first class cricket before the squad for the Pakistan test is announced.
This series of Plunket Shield wraps is for those who like to follow casually, particularly with an eye to national selection. 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