Plunket Shield round nine DAY FOUR: Canterbury 247 all out in 77.2 overs (Broom 117, Ellis 24, Bennett 25; Wagner 4-83, Duffy 4-65) and 144 all out in 64.4 overs (Nicholls 34, Astle 38 not out; Badenhorst 3-28, Duffy 5-58) lost to the SBS Bank Otago Volts 250/8 declared in 73.1 overs (Rutherford 87, de Boorder 55 not out; Bennett 3-42) and 142/6 in 31.3 overs (Rutherford 43, Redmond 27, de Boorder 24 not out) by four wickets at University Oval, Dunedin
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It was a perfect start to the day for the SBS Bank Otago Volts, quickly wrapping up the Canterbury tail for no addition to the overnight score. Even better for Jacob Duffy, he shot to his third first-class career five-for with the last two wickets, remarkably all of them having arrived in a cluster over the last three matches.
Like the rest of his team he was fizzing as the teams strode off the field, knowing the target to snare a big upset over the competition leaders was just 141 runs.
Hamish Rutherford made a blistering start on it, caning eight fours in his quick 43 before being caught, almost half the target already in the bank. But three wickets in four overs chastened the mood, Derek de Boorder and Josh Finnie pairing up with a further 66 required and now four down.
The drama of cricket wasn't done. Todd Astle removed Finnie with another 32 runs required, but de Boorder remained as a steadying presence. He made it through to lunch, by which time the Volts were a further wicket down, and on Nelson's just for good measure: 111/6 with 31 runs still to find. But a little bit of protein did the trick for the hosts, nailing down the big upset without further loss.
The Plunket Shield leaders, Canterbury, had just taken a significant knock in the penultimate round of the competition, much to the relief of the remaining contenders.
Derek de Boorder's effective resistance ensured the Volts claimed one batting bonus point, the Volts declaring eight down inside the first half hour of play, as soon as they hit the 250 threshold — in order to simultaneously deny Canterbury any chance of a fourth bowling point, every eye on the remaining mathematical permutations on the points table.
Canterbury opener Ronnie Hira suffered a golden duck in the second over when he was bowled by Jacob Duffy, then Peter Fulton didn't get much to celebrate in his milestone 100th game as the form captain was caught by Duffy off Roald Badenhorst for just 20.
Canterbury had entered the round with a 14-point lead over the SKYCITY Northern Knights and a 26-point buffer over the third-placed Mondiale Auckland Aces. Now team management had one eye on Napier, where the Aces were closing in on a maximum 20-point demolition of the Devon Hotel Central Stags, while Canterbury had managed just the three bowling points thus far.
By lunch they'd been chipped to three down, first-innings centurion Neil Broom joining Hira and Fulton back in the sheds with Canterbury's interim lead only 53.
The middle session didn't go much better for the visitors, Roald Badenhorst picking up his two quick wickets to curtail impressive Henry Nicholls on 34 and stop Andy Ellis (whom he had caught behind for just 10) digging in with Todd Astle. At 121/6, the lead still wasn't substantial: the Volts sniffed a turn-up over their southern rivals, if only they could quickly dislodge the sticky Astle before tea.
Turned out Jacob Duffy had a different trick up his sleeve. At the end of the following over, he put himself on a hat-trick by targeting keeper Cameron Fletcher (caught for 2) and Ryan McCone (trapped leg before first ball) to rock Canterbury to the unfamiliar position of 123/8.
Astle was holding on, 28 not out, but the mission to build a defendable lead was now that much harder. When bad light again brought a premature close to play, Canterbury's lead was still only 141.
After dampness delayed play for 45 minutes, strikemen Neil Wagner and Jacob Duffy picked up two more wickets each in the first session to shut down Canterbury for just a further 50 runs. The last to fall had also been perhaps the most irritating, number eleven Hamish Bennett slamming 25 last-ditch runs off just 22 deliveries before an incensed Wagner had him caught behind. Canterbury had missed out on picking up a batting bonus point by just three runs; the SBS Bank Otago Volts had gained a full four bowling points..
Chasing 247 in their first innings, the Volts lost Aaron Redmond before lunch as Ryan McCone picked up an early one in his third over, but Hamish Rutherford found his touch to reach a run-a-ball half century after the break, posted with his seventh boundary of the day, off Ed Nuttall.
At the other end was Michael Bracewell on 20, and he wasn't destined to go much further as the Volts' innings took on a distinctly top-heavy shape.
Rutherford's aggression was chastened somewhat as two more partners came and went, unable to get beyond a start to build a meaningful partnership with him. Ed Nuttall had grabbed both Bracewell and Ryan Duffy caught behind. Andy Ellis followed up with the wicket of young nipper Josh Finnie. When Rutherford himself fell next for a 121-ball 87, the Volts were still lagging by 88.
Derek de Boorder went into preservation mode, but wickets continued falling at the other end. At stumps the Volts were 224/7, de Boorder holding firm on 34 overnight with 23 further runs to knock off to assume the lead.
A wet outfield delayed, by 45 minutes, the beginning of a special occasion for Canterbury skipper Peter Fulton, chalking up his 100th first-class appearance for his side in the penultimate round, away in Dunedin. But after sending the Plunket Shield leaders in, it was the Volts, now minus Jesse Ryder, who celebrated first.
Neil Wagner struck in his first over to remove Leo Carter for no score, then Jacob Duffy made it a double quick start for the Volts by getting fellow opener Ronnie Hira caught behind as well, glancing down the leg side.
So, Fulton and and fellow senior pro Neil Broom were in early in the first session with a foundation to lay, putting on 70 runs. But while Broom charged to the brink of a half-century by lunch, Fulton's wicket fell on the break, trapped leg before for what had been a patient 19 to Roald Badenhorst, who had come into the Volts' XI for Ryder and got the ball to swing.
Broom 'steadied the ship' in tricky conditions with his 15th first-class century and third for Canterbury this season, but for once he wanted for firm support. Andy Ellis and Broom each fell in the space of three overs before tea, then a combination of the delayed start and bad light saw the first day end soon after tea, Canterbury having listed to 197/6.