NORTHERN DISTRICTS drew with AUCKLAND ACES
Cobham Oval, Whangarei
11-14 March 2021
Toss: Northern Districts who bowled
Ross ter Braak - first-class debut (Auckland Aces)
Scott Kuggeleijn - 9th first-class five-wicket bag
Scott Kuggeleijn - Best first-class bowling (previously: 7-48)
Louis Delport - 2nd first-class five-wicket bag
Louis Delport - Best first-class bowling (7-88, previously 5-77)
Louis Delport - first-class hat-trick
Mark Chapman - 2000 first-class runs
🧢 Ross ter Braak 🙌— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) March 11, 2021
Auckland First-Class Cap 5️⃣2️⃣5️⃣
Ross makes his Plunket Shield debut today against Northern Districts at Cobham Oval, the same venue the left-armer made his Ford Trophy debut in November. #FollowSuit 🔷🏏 pic.twitter.com/nEfOw2XRkU
Bowling: Northern Districts 4 (maximum achieved), Auckland Aces 3
Batting: Auckland Aces 0, Northern Districts 2
As the late summer cyclone-season weather barged over Northland, as is usual for this time of year, a weather-affected draw at this stage of the season was something neither ND nor the Auckland Aces needed in their struggle to clamber up the Plunket Shield table.
>But while the two neighbours had to settle for just first-innings points, statisticians had a field day, with a bowler from each team - a paceman and a spinner - each snaffling career-best seven-wicket bags. And, there was a rare hat-trick to boot.
Scott Kuggeleijn had taken seven wickets earlier in this shortened affair that had seen two full days lost to rain, on days one and three. Now it was Auckland spinner Louis Delport's turn to have a blinder with a stunning performance enlivening the last day.
In 138 years of New Zealand Domestic first-class matches, there had been only eight first-class hat-tricks for the Auckland Aces, but thanks to the 33-year-old late bloomer the team now has their second in the 2020/21 Plunket Shield season alone.
In just his ninth first-class appearance, left-armer Delport achieved the rare feat with the wickets of Brett Hampton (caught by Sean Solia for 4), followed by BLACKCAPS Ish Sodhi (caught by debutant Ross ter Braak for 0) and BJ Watling (caught by Robbie O'Donnell for 37 after the batsmen crossed) with his second, third and fourth deliveries in the 67th over.
He had already claimed the wickets of Tim Seifert, Joe Carter, Jeet Raval and Scott Kuggeleijn in the innings, meaning the first ball of his hat-trick also delivered his second first-class bag.
He finished up with an outstanding career-best 7-88 off just 17 overs and four maidens before Northern Districts declared their innings eight down, with 281 runs on the Cobham Oval tins.
That was something ND could well afford to do, given they'd already dismissed Auckland for 141.
Both sides had played adventurously in the limited time available, determined to give themselves a half chance of making a game of it.
But ultimately neither time nor the weather gods were on their side with the second innings becoming batting practice and petering out to 141/2 before the match was called - shortly after Will O'Donnell had reached a maiden first-class half century, to go with his string of white-ball efforts this season; with Ish Sodhi meanwhile having picked up both wickets.
The Aces had already lost one significant opportunity to reap Plunket Shield points this season after their Nelson match against the Central Stags was abandoned without a toss made.
Now both the Stags and the Aces still sat marooned in the middle of the table - the Aucklanders unbeaten, and yet still left trailing runaway leaders Canterbury, the only other unbeaten side after five rounds, by a chunky 36 points. ND sat four points above them in second spot and would likewise drive home wondering what might have been.
No play - rain.
A stunning performance from ND opening bowler Scott Kuggeleijn rewarded his skipper for winning the toss after the showers finally cleared off on day two at Cobham Oval.
Auckland Aces all out for 141 batting first in Whangarei. Scott Kuggeleijn with 7-45 (his best first-class figures) for @ndcricket. Mark Chapman top scoring for @aucklandcricket with 57. Watch play LIVE here | https://t.co/7YnGwkcSuf #PlunketShield pic.twitter.com/XwkK2hwMTz— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 12, 2021
Opening the attack with Neil Wagner, Kuggeleijn struck in his first over, and finished with a career best 7-45 off just 11.1 overs after he wrapped up the Auckland Aces' first innings in just the 49th, before tea.
Under pressure from both Wagner and Kuggeleijn early after the pair had quickly picked off the opening pair of Sean Solia and Will O'Donnell, Glenn Phillips decided attack was the best form of defence and gamely took 18 runs from the eighth over, hitting three fours and a six off Kuggeleijn - but in the conditions, it was playing with fire and he soon got burnt.
When he was caught in the deep for 28 off 30 balls, Kuggeleijn had his wicket as Wagner pocketed the catch.
While the Aces did find a way to score off Kuggeleijn - Mark Chapman going on to contribute a vital 57 off 70 balls, the seamer remained a threat, and had played a major role in reducing the visitors to 65/5 in the first hour of play.
FIFTY | Chapman brings up his 12th First-Class fifty and it's been a fine counter-attacking knock so far!— Auckland Cricket (@aucklandcricket) March 12, 2021
WATCH | ACES 109/5 | https://t.co/GHEn8zqfKs#PlunketShield #FollowSuit 💙🏏 pic.twitter.com/07y1sd5Igc
Chapman was joined by debutant Ross ter Braak and the pair dug deep in the lead-up to lunch, Chapman finding the boundary on nine occasions before Kuggeleijn came back into the attack and ensured the visitors would not get any leeway, all out for 141.
While ter Braak and Ollie Pringle made a tidy start in reply, Northern Districts built away patiently.
An opening stand of 70 between Jeet Raval (63*) and Henry Cooper (35) saw the hosts dominate the last session. Spinners Will Somerville and Louis Delport both bagged late wickets in the final hour to give the Aces a lift heading into Day Three, however.
Northern Districts will resume on day three at 112/2.
Showers, no play, and no toss made saw a quiet start to the resumption of the Shield in the north, wet weather throwing another curve ball into the mix for the leaderboard's chasing teams.