Canterbury has swept to its first outright of the season with an emphatic 304-run victory over the SBS Bank Otago Volts at Hagley Oval.
Canterbury had begun the day needing just four more wickets to complete the honours, but the game was over early when the ninth Volts wicket fell — after a stop-start morning under humid grey skies — as Sean Eathorne had been unable to bat for the visitors after having retired hurt on the previous day.
There was no gloom for Logan van Beek, however, as the young allrounder put together a breakthrough performance to finish with a rare achievement by his name.
Van Beek, the grandson of the late former West Indies and New Zealand Test cricketer Sammy Guillen, had taken the first wicket of the sole required session when he had got Adam Miles caught behind on one, to have the Volts 225/7.
When he struck again in his following over, he joined Fred Wilding, Frank Bellamy, Ian Cromb, Dick Motz, David Stead and Nathan Astle as the seven Canterbury players in history to have made a century and taken five wickets in the same game.
He finished with career best figures 6-57 off his 20.1 overs, including seven maidens, and eight for the match to go with his unbeaten maiden 111 in the first innings.
The beginning to day four at Hagley Oval had been delayed by 40 minutes, but despite disruptions the well earned victory would be in Canterbury's bag before lunch, after a scattering of 12.4 overs of play.
Home town captain Peter Fulton got a sunny Labour Day off to a fine start for Canterbury supporters, powering to a significant century at Hagley Oval en route to reaching an unbeaten 155 off 144 balls before he declared for a daunting overall lead of 553.
The significance? It was Fulton's 18th first-class ton overall and 15th first-class ton for his team, putting him in an elite band as only the 10th player to score 15 or more Plunket Shield hundred for one team (the others are Mathew Sinclair (27 for the Stags), Craig Cumming (21 for the Volts), Matthew Bell (20 for the Firebirds), Michael Papps (19 for Canterbury), Bert Sutcliffe (17 for Otago), Peter Ingram (17 for the Stags), Tim McIntosh (17 for the Aces), Daniel Flynn (17 for the Knights), Bruce Edgar (15 for the Firebirds).
Overnight partner Ken McClure was likewise unbeaten on 66 when Canterbury walked in at 350/2, Fulton having blasted a string of boundaries and sixes. They had poured on 216 for the third wicket, beating the 178 added by Michael Papps and Robbie Frew in 2000/01.
After having been rolled for 91 in the first innings, the SBS Bank Otago Volts were under a huge weight of pressure to respond, albeit with the best part of two days to do so. Experienced former SKYCITY Northern Knights opener Brad Wilson stepped up to the plate with his first century for his new team (his ninth overall). He'd been a model of patience doing the hard yakka, but then suffered the misfortune of being out on the last ball of the day when he was trapped by Ryan McCone, one of two late wickets.
At stumps it out the Volts at 213/6, with Sean Eathorne also having retired hurt on two when he was struck on the shoulder by a delivery from Logan van Beek. With four wickets in hand they still require 340 runs.
A sweet-tasting day for Canterbury ended with their captain poised on 97 overnight.
By contrast, at 77/7 by lunch on day two, it was fair to say the SBS Bank Otago Volts' day had not gone to plan at all. And, it only got worse for the visitors, Nick Beard's 22 the highest individual score in their tally of 91 all out in 36.3 overs.
Canterbury had hunted as a pack, the wickets shared around with Will Williams (3-13) and Ryan McCone both picking up a three-for — McCone having taken out both opener Ryan Duffy and Josh Finnie in the same over, in the space of three balls.
The clattering of regular wickets as they went in for the kill proved just the tonic for the defending champions, who had been looking to set themselves right after a tough first-up loss.
Leo Carter and Ronnie Hira put on 111 to get their second dig off to a decent start, before Nelson's claimed another victim in Hira (caught on 63). Spinner Nick Beard had a hand in the dismissal as well, then a couple of overs later he had Carter back in the hutch, caught on 57.
But Fulton and impressive newbie Ken McClure, celebrating his 21st birthday, soon settled in, putting on 138 runs for the third wicket by stumps, just to add to the Volts' pain. The Canterbury lead had swelled to 474 with eight in hand, McClure unbeaten on 47.
The game couldn't have got off to a much worse beginning for the hosts at Hagley, but it was a dream for 20-year-old right-armer Jack Hunter in just his second Plunket Shield match for the SBS Bank Otago Volts.
The former New Zealand Under-19s World Cup rep shouted successfully for two lbws in the first over of the day, sending both Canterbury openers — Leo Carter and Ronnie Hira — back without score.
But his biggest breakthrough arguably came in the middle session when he got rid of Canterbury's veteran steady-the-ship man, Andy Ellis, — who had just gritted his teeth through a 77-ball 29 in partnership with Cameron Fletcher, looking to grind out a recovery for the sixth wicket.
Volts captain Sam Wells had already accounted for Ken McClure and Cole McConchie and, at 122/6 when Logan van Beek walked out to bat in the 47th over, Canterbury was facing an uphill battle after having been sent in at a fresh Hagley Oval.
Another two quick wickets in the space of four overs had the Volts fizzing, and Hunter, who had taken just a solitary wicket on debut one week earlier, on the cusp of a maiden five-for.
Knuckling down under pressure, van Beek eventually steadied the ship in the last session. With only one previous first-class half-century to his name, he freed his bat after Canterbury slipped to nine down for 189 on the board and helped gather a 69-partnership for the last wicket by drinks in the tea session.
Hunter was still hunting that fifth and final wicket, but van Beek was in no mood to stop. He marched on to his maiden first-class century, posted with a boundary off Hunter's final ball of an otherwise spotless over with van Beek poised on 99.
His last-wicket stand with Will Williams had gone to 87 in the process, and they took it to a century-partnership before Williams was caught off Wells late in the day to leave Canterbury all out for 293.
Van Beek remained unbeaten on 111 off 125 balls (13 fours, three sixes) and, with Williams, was the new owner of the Canterbury record 10th wicket stand against the Volts (104). The previous mark had stood for well over a century, since 1908/09.
The Volts were five without loss at stumps.