OTAGO VOLTS v CANTERBURY
University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
First innings bonus points
Bowling: Canterbury 4 (maximum achieved), Otago Volts 3 (completed)
Batting: Otago Volts 1 (completed), Canterbury 4 (maximum achieved)
RESULT: Canterbury won by nine wickets
Formalities only on the final day with Canterbury resuming in Dunedin needing just six runs to win. Ten minutes later, a nine-wicket win was in the bag, Ken McClure doing the honours with a boundary and a two.
Canterbury had broken their Plunket Shield duck for the season at the midway mark, taking them to 32 points, in fifth spot. Despite a stirring Ford Trophy campaign, the Volts meanwhile remained winless in the red-ball format, now suffering four losses on the bounce.
Their next crack will come early in 2019 with the first-class championship now going into recess for Burger King Super Smash. On 21 February the Volts will head to a tough away match at Eden Park Outer Oval against the Aces, who have just won two on the trot at their fortress, when Round Five of the eight-round contest begins, while Canterbury will face a good challenge hosting defending champions the Central Stags in Rangiora.
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It was a big day ahead for the two sides still battling for their first win of 2018/19 in the four-day arena. After finally wrapping up the Canterbury innings on 438 that morning, hosts the Volts headed to lunch trailing Canterbury by 164, but having made a good start to their second innings task at 60 for no loss.
Hamish Rutherford resumed after the break on 42* and found the boundary a couple more times to get to his half century soon after. However, the opener fell victim to a tight runout midway through the middle session, after having called hesitant partner Cam Hawkins though for a third run.
Right on the stroke of tea, Canterbury picked up another for the session, the Volts heading in at 151 for two, Josh Tasman-Jones having been bowled by Cole McConchie.
Shawn Hicks joined Hawkins on 65* still trailing by 81 at that stage but, after tea, McConchie would strike again, Hawkins departing caught and bowled on 76.
It was the start of nervous times for the Volts, Hicks and Finnie departing in consecutive overs, and still trailing by 30-odd. Then Renwick was trapped a handful of overs later as Jamieson grabbed his second with the new ball.
Jamieson (3-38) dealt another quick blow in his next over, Anaru Kitchen shouldering arms as he clipped his bails. Then, in the space of seven balls, seven down became nine down, as Nathan Smith and Jacob Duffy were claimed by Will Williams next over and the Volts were officially backs to the wall.
Still trailing by seven runs at this point, Christi Viljoen and Matt Bacon found themselves on a hollow mission to make Canterbury bat and avoid an innings defeat, a Bacon boundary levelling the scores.
Canterbury took the extra half hour, and 10 minutes later took the wicket they were after, as Williams (3-60) smashed through Bacon's poles.
Canterbury needed just 15 runs from their second innings, three overs remaining in the afternoon. They lost Michael Davidson after a single and leg bye, 10 balls in. The batsmen having crossed, Chad Bowes pummelled a four next ball, and a couple of singles. However with Ken McClure able to run only a leg bye off the last over, everyone was destined to come back on the fourth morning, Canterbury needing to knock off just six more runs.
Canterbury reached its first batting bonus point just before the stroke of lunch, heading to the break at 201 for four on the second afternoon.
It had been a solid session for the visitors with no further loss from the previous evening, Leo Carter (70*) and Cam Fletcher (61*) once again combining very well after a good partnership together in the previous round in Auckland.
The pair had reached a stand of 124 runs together for the fifth wicket by the end of the session, and were now just five runs away from overtaking the Volts' first dig.
Carter was undone by a short ball from Matt Bacon after lunch, the stand ending at 146 as Henry Shipley arrived at the crease, but Fletcher continued his excellent form to reach his second first-class century this summer, and third of his career, after tonning against India A for New Zealand A a few weeks earlier.
Fletcher headed to tea unbeaten on 103*, his three figures having come up three overs earlier off 200 balls, including 10 fours and a six; his 10th boundary, off Nathan Smith, eliciting the milestone.
With Shipley on 71* he had built a 111*-run partnership for the sixth wicket, and a lead of 118. By stumps Canterbury's lead has grown to 215, but they would resume day three eight wickets down.
Fletcher had been caught off Bacon on 108, Shipley ploughing on to 76 before he became the next to go, trapped by a relieved Anaru Kitchen at 336 for seven. The relief didn't last long, however, as Kyle Jamieson rustled up a quick half century in the last hour and a half, ready to resume on 57* with Canterbury sitting pretty on 421 for eight.
The Plunket Shield approached its halfway mark with the two southernmost South Island teams battling to get out of the cellar, against each other. After winning the toss, a good opening session for hosts the Otago Volts was chastened somewhat just before lunch when they lost their second wicket. The good news was Hamish Rutherford had made his way through to 45*, and he had just got the Volts’ 100 on the board after having lost the support of Josh Tasman-Jones.
Both Tasman-Jones and, earlier, Cam Hawkins had been bounced out on 25, zippy left-armer Andrew Hazeldine and big Kyle Jamieson the recipients of their wickets.
Resuming at 105 for two with Shawn Hicks, Rutherford lasted only one more ball, however, before Leo Carter collected his second catch off Hazeldine, off a rising delivery as a jumping Rutherford looked to play it down the leg-side.
Hicks soon became the Hazeldine’s third victim, again to the shorter ball, leaving Mitch Renwick and Josh Finnie with a repair job at 110 for four.
Renwick peeled three boundaries off a Henry Shipley over to get the other side of the scoreboard moving again, but a flying edge to slip removed Finnie, Carter with the hands yet again as Shipley picked up his first at 131 for five.
After a positive 31, Renwick slashed at Jamieson and was given caught behind, the tall Cantabrian already having picked up Nathan Smith cheaply in his previous over.
With a previous best of 3-47, Hazeldine was ecstatic as he got his fourth in Christi Viljoen, sitting on 4-18 before being pumped for six by Anaru Kitchen next over. Going to tea at 202 for eight, Jamieson (4-39) and Hazeldine wrapped it up quickly in the third session with Kitchen (38) the last to fall, handing the wiry 24-year-old left-armer his maiden five-wicket bag, useful figures of 5-33 and six maidens from his 14.4 overs.
All 10 of the wickets had been caught, Canterbury bagging maximum bowling bonuses and the Volts just managing to hang on long enough to scrabble one batting bonus for their 206.
In all 14 wickets would fall on the day after the Volts had Canterbury 98 for four in reply. Michael Davidson had for the innings underway in a positive mood with a boundary first ball, but lost his middle stump to Nathan Smith in the 10th over. Chad Bowes (34) had meanwhile pumped a six off Jacob Duffy's third delivery, but would be caught behind at 55 for two as first change Christi Viljoen picked up the first of his two wickets before stumps.
He trapped Canterbury skipper Cole McConchie for a duck in his next over before Matt Bacon removed Ken McClure, Canterbury to resume day two at 98 for four, a deficit of 108.