Colin de Grandhomme's 164 got ND back in the game | All images: MBUTCHER

Ding-dong battle of the Districts

Video Highlights



McLean Park, Napier

11-14 March, 2022


Toss: Central Stags who bowled

First innings points: Northern Districts 4, Central Stags 5

Total points this game: Northern Districts 16, Central Stags 5

Selected Milestones

Dane Cleaver: Central Stags captaincy debut

Ray Toole: maiden first-class bag (6-54)

Ray Toole: career best first-class match analysis: 9-87

Brett Randell: career best first-class bowling analysis 8-108

Brett Randell: second first-class bag, career best bowling (6-45) and 50th first-class wicket

Colin de Grandhomme: 15th first-class century, second for ND, his highest score in Plunket Shield

Joey Field: highest first-class score

Ajaz Patel: 1000 first-class runs


A sensational last morning and five-wicket-bag from top Plunket Shield wicket-taker Brett Randell saw the Central Stags begin the last day with 10 wickets in hand amid a 224 chase, and go to lunch in a dire position at 60/8.

The teams had turned up to a drizzly, overcast last morning, with two stoppages during the action-packed first session.

Colin de Grandhomme (3-13) set things in motion with the first wicket of the day to split up the incumbent Stags opening pair at 32/1, before Randell got the big wicket of Will Young - en route to a haul of 6-45.

Randell was on a hat-trick with the wickets of Tom Bruce and a perhaps unlucky Doug Bracewell as the Stags collapsed from 46/3 to 46/5, and captain Cleaver departing next at 46/6 after he was caught behind off de Grandhomme.

ND was on the charge, but a long period of drizzle and damp conditions after lunch then saw play paused again almost immediately after lunch, for a few hours until 4.20pm, when some 32 overs remained in the day.

The Stags were hanging on by the skin of their antlers at 61/8.

When play finally resumed, they soon lost their ninth wicket, bringing Ray Toole to the middle to join Joey Field.

The young pair batted stoically for more than an hour to try to salvage a draw for Central as Sodhi and Walker tried to snare the winning wicket.

But when ND captain Joe Carter finally turned to Jeet Raval for a turn at the crease, the result was almost immediate with the last wicket gone at 82.

Raval had Joey Field adjudged LBW and the spectacular result saw ND leap above Canterbury into second spot on the table.

Living with ankylosing spondylitis (a form of inflammatory arthritis), Randell is enjoying his best season with 29 first-class wickets from five matches - the most by anyone in the Plunket Shield so far, as well as two half centuries in the campaign to date.

His previous best first-class season produced just seven wickets (2019/20), and he had just one prior half century in the Plunket Shield.


Colin de Grandhomme dug Northern Districts out of a hole with his fifteenth first-class century: an unbeaten knock of 164* that produced more than half of ND's second innings runs.

The team having been trailing on the first innings, de Grandhomme had arrived at the crease on the previous day with the visitors in peril at 50/4, and continued to bat throughout the reminder of ND's second innings.

The total reached 300 on the nose before young Central Stag Ray Toole wrapped it up with a ground-breaking six-for, the strong young seamer already having achieved his maiden bag wth the wicket of Brett Randell, caught for no score at 204/8.

But de Grandhomme remained an immutable force  and he gathered steam as he started to lose partners - punching up his 150 with a six into the Harris Stand as he added invaluable runs.

It was de Grandhomme's second Plunket Shield century for Northern Districts, and his highest first-class score on New Zealand soil with his efforts setting the Stags a chase of 224 for victory on the last day.

When drizzle swept in and then bad light ended play, the Stags were 28 without loss, after nine overs in reply.


Superb fielding marked the second day of action in Napier. A quick turn and direct hit from Central Stags youngster Joey Field at square saw Northern Districts first drop Bharat Popli run out by a hair's breadth, for no score.

That was followed by Stags wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver anticipating an edge from opposing ND captain Joe Carter, Cleaver diving at full stretch in front of the slip cordon to complete the catch off Ray Toole.

Young seamer Toole finished the day with 3-19 off eight overs as ND collapsed to 91/5, the visitors set to resume the third day in a vulnerable position with a 14-run second-innings lead and just five wickets remaining.

Earlier, Northern Districts had dismissed a scrappy Central just in time to prevent the hosts from gaining a second batting bonus point.

Nightwatchman Field reached his highest first-class of 38 while his former NZU19 teammate, Kristian Clarke, finished with 3-47, wrapping up the innings at 249 to restrict the Stags' first innings lead to 77.


The Central Stags held the upper hand over Northern Districts for most of the sunny first day after new captain Dane Cleaver (in the absence of regular captain Greg Hay, still making his way back from a broken thumb) won the toss and elected to bowl in the mid-table clash.

The Stags quickly reduced ND to 116 for eight.

Colin de Grandhomme led a late fightback as he top-scored for the visitors with 37; with tailenders Joe Walker (an unbeaten 25*) and debutant Scott Johnston helping get ND to 172 before they were dismissed on the stroke of tea.

The wickets were shared around the Stags' pace attack, but the hosts lost four wickets of their own in the final session including the big wicket of BLACKCAP Will Young who was stumped off Joe Walker on 42.

The Stags will resume at 114/4, trailing on the first innings by 58 runs with Tom Bruce and nightwatchman Joey Field at the crease.

Off-spinner Walker, one of the leading spinners in the championship this year, had 2-11 off his five overs.






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