WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS drew with NORTHERN DISTRICTS
Basin Reserve, Wellington
27-30 March 2021
Toss: Northern Districts who bowled
First innings bonus points
BATTING: Wellington Firebirds 3 Northern Districts 0
BOWLING: Northern Districts 1 Wellington Firebirds 1
Total points this round: Wellington Firebirdsa 4, Northern Districts 1
Matt Fisher - first-class debut
Luke Georgeson maiden first-class half century
Rachin Ravindra third first-class century, second for Wellington Firebirds
Rachin Ravindra highest first-class score for Wellington Firebirds
Tom Blundell ninth first-class century (seventh for Firebirds)
Rain again greeted the teams at the Basin with an early lunch taken. Northern Districts declared its first innings overnight, sacrificing batting bonuses in the hope of buying time for an outright on the last day, and the Wellington Firebirds immediately declared its second innings - setting ND a second innings target of 318 to win on a truncated last day.
It was déja vu for the Northerners in a weather-affected campaign, after their first round in Hamilton had seen a triple declaration as rain poured down - only for the Central Stags to chase down the runs with ease on the last day. Their Whangarei clash with the Aces had also been weather-ruined, the luck of the draw becoming a bigger factor for teams with just eight rounds of competition.
With the weather not cooperative, the match was caleld off after lunch.
Overnight rain and a wet morning saw an early lunch taken and ultimately no play possible.
After Rachin Ravindra's opening day ton, Tom Blundell followed suit with the second century of the Firebirds innings - reaching and unbeaten 103* in partnership with Troy Johnson (58*) as they slathered on 158 for the fifth wicket.
It was Blundell's ninth first-class century and seventh for the capital, Michael Bracewell declaring before tea at 414/4 as soon as he ticked off the milestone with his 14th boundary.
By stumps, ND was 97/4 in reply, having lost all their top four. First drop Bharat Popli had made it to a patient half century before becoming Iain McPeake's second victim, having removed the big wicket of captain Joe Carter in his previous over.
BJ Watling and Scott Kuggeleijn batted out the final overs of the day with a big recovery job to do, still trailing by 317.
Straight back from injury and into century mode. Twenty-one-year-old allrounder Rachin Ravindra's return from a shoulder layoff couldn't have gone much better after he posted his third first-class century on day one at the Basin Reserve.
Opening the batting, Ravindra's 138 was his highest score for the Firebirds and threatened his career best 144* for New Zealand A as he set about his work after his side was sent in by ND captain Joe Carter.
It had been a delayed start at the Basin but the opening pair of Ravindra and Luke Georgeson - a fellow 21-year-old making just his third appearance - settled in for a superb 226-run opening stand.
Left-hander Georgeson played the support role, reaching his maiden half century just before tea - just after Ravindra had posted his third first-class ton off 168 balls in 256 minutes (9x4, 4x6).
Finally Joe Walker had not one, but two breakthroughs deep into his second spell, Georgeson departing on 70 at 236/2.
ND got another late wicket when Neil Wagner had Michael Bracewell caught in the slips with the Firebirds ending the day at 237/3 when bad light ended play.