AUCKLAND ACES v CANTERBURY
Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland
First innings bonus points
Bowling: Auckland Aces 4 (completed), Batting 1 (completed)
Batting: Canterbury 1 (completed), Bowling 4 (maximum achieved)
Result: Aces won by four wickets
The Auckland Aces found themselves chasing 257 to win after bowling out Canterbury for 282 in the first half hour of the final day.
Theo van Woerkom had quickly reached his half century as Canterbury looked for precious early runs, but on 61 was caught off Jamie Brown to close the Canterbury account with just a further 32 runs having been added to the red and black's overnight total.
By tea, the Aces required just a further 99 runs with six wickets in hand, Kyle Jamieson venting his frustration with a bouncer that struck Mark Chapman on the helmet just before the break, when he was on 43*.
Earlier, Glenn Phillips had contributed 60 to shore up their chase, sharing a 54-run stand with Chapman after van Woerkom had picked up a second wicket in Robbie O'Donnell.
Chapman shook off his head knock and carried on to 89, Finn Allen adding an unbeaten half century to help get their side home on the last afternoon.
The Auckland Aces fell just four runs short of collecting a second batting bonus point as Canterbury's Theo van Woerkom spun his way to a new first-class career best of 4-70 in the morning session, the hosts taking a first-innings lead of just 26.
By lunch, Canterbury had made a rocky start to their second dig, however, at 70 for three.
Matt McEwan had struck twice, removing both openers cheaply in his first spell, before Ben Lister struck next over to have the red and blacks in further strife at 10 for three.
Leo Carter once again in the match was tasked with a repair job and had steadied the ship with 41* at the break, batting with Michael Davidson on 21*.
Over the following two sessions the Aces kept chipping away to have their opponents nine down by stumps for 250, a lead of 224 heading into the final day.
Van Woerkom's strong game upon his return from New Zealand A continued and he will resume on 45*, with a second first-class fifty in sight if number eleven Will Williams can hold on.
Earlier, Carter had fallen just eight runs shy of a century with Kyle Jamieson providing important runs down the order with a knock of 51.
Four wickets in four overs saw Canterbury's resistance end in a hurry on the second morning.
The visitors all out for 220, Glenn Phillips had earlier ignited the Aces' morning by claiming Henry Shipley, before a yorker from Jamie Brown trapped Kyle Jamieson on to set in motion the flurry of wickets.
Next to fall, just two deliveries later, was the big one: Matt McEwan elated at trapping Cam Fletcher after a solid 79, and more than three hours of patience at the crease.
After only a further nine runs' worth of damage, Brown struck again for a haul of 3-55, his best yet in the long format, before McEwan wrapped it up with the final wicket in the 91st over, for maximum bowling bonuses.
Sean Solia, who had made the early breakthroughs on day one, walked off with 3-31 off his 14 with Canterbury forced to settle for just one batting point after having fought back so hard from 46 for four.
Two quick wickets in the space of three balls put the early dampeners on the Aces' reply, however, Jamieson striking twice in the eighth over to remove Graeme Beghin and Finn Allen, both caught behind to have the Aces going to lunch at 21 for two.
The day ended with the Aces 228 for seven in reply, a marginal eight-run lead at stumps. Fletcher had continued his impressive game with four catches behind the sticks, including pouching a straightforward grab off Will Williams to stop new Aces captain Robbie O'Donnell on 49.
O'Donnell had provided good support for opener Sean Solia who carried on to top-score with 51, while Mark Chapman contributed 37 at five. But the Aces lacked a convincing partnership in the middle to late order that could have seen them occupy a more commanding position in the first innings.
Canterbury steadied the ship on a stop-start day in Auckland, scattered showers and thundery weather repeatedly forcing the teams off the park as the Plunket Shield resumed, following The Ford Trophy's conclusion.
After a delayed start, new Aces captain Robbie O'Donnell, stepping in for Michael Guptill-Bunce who was out with a broken thumb, had no hesitation in bowling.
It brought early joy for the hosts, Canterbury 49 for four inside the first 21 overs and Sean Solia whistling through the top order for 3-22.
But after lunch Cam Fletcher, fresh off his New Zealand A first-class century against India A, steadied the ship with Leo Carter, both batsmen beginning on 0* in the second session. They constructed a cautious but critically patient stand that reached 68 off 185 balls before rain after tea saw the day's play interrupted yet again.
It was important to maintain focus despite the disruptions and, after finally getting back onto the park in the early evening sunshine, the pair was in sight of a 150-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Ben Lister broke the stubborn stand, however, with Carter caught behind, bringing in Henry Shipley to join Fletcher at 141 for five.
The pair carried on to stumps, Fletcher to resume on 62* with his side in much better shape for his efforts at 166 for five.