• Plunket Shield cricket will resume in March following The Ford Trophy and Burger King Super Smash competitions.
Otago Volts v Northern Districts at Molyneux Park, Alexandra, 24-27 November 2017
First innings bowling bonus points: Otago Volts 2 (completed), Northern Districts 4 (completed)
First innings batting bonus points: Northern Districts 3 (completed), Otago Volts 1 (completed)
Total Points from this round:
Otago Volts 3
Northern Districts 19
- Daryl Mitchell: 50th first-class game for Northern Districts
- Shawn Hicks: first-class debut for Otago Volts (previously Auckland Aces) and career-best first-class score
- Jacob Duffy: sixth first-class five-wicket bag
- Brent Arnel: 16th first-class five-wicket bag
- Tim Seifert: third first-class century and career-best first-class score
- Brad Wilson: 14th first-class century
- Ish Sodhi: ninth first-class five-wicket bag
5 for Sodhi and @ndcricket have their first win of the #PlunketShield season in dramatic fashion over the @OtagoVolts in Alexandra. Final day thriller. Card | https://t.co/yWMG4wJ55k pic.twitter.com/KB13m2jXUI— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 27, 2017
In a match fought to the wire, Northern Districts got an early Christmas present as they finally achieved their first outright win of the season, at the expense of their hosts the Otago Volts. The win lifted ND from last to fourth on the table, as defending champions Canterbury sank below the Volts to the bottom rung.
For the Volts, the mission was to score 329 days on the final day, and they almost got there: just 25 runs would separate the southerners from the valuable 12 points for an outright. Instead it was ND who got lift-off from the bottom of the table when Sodhi claimed the final wicket in the early evening.
Opener Brad Wilson had begun the day on five, and with more than a century of first-class matches behind him now, the doughty opener knew exactly what was required of him to keep the Volts in with a show.
He would lose opening partner Hamish Rutherford before the first drinks break (the first of Wilson's former ND teammate Sodhi's victims for the day), and by lunch the Volts were three down after a slow-going hard yakka session with the bat.
Crucially, though, Wilson was still there.
From 76 for three at the break, he soldiered on to his half century off 143 balls, gaining good support from former Auckland allrounder Shawn Hicks as the duo steadily built a 100-stand for the fourth wicket, Hicks edging towards what would become his first fifty for the Volts, and career best after having scored exactly 50 for the Aces.
They took the home side past 150 before Hicks raised his bat, his half century (4x4, 1x6) coming up off 73 balls. Shortly after drinks in the second session there would be another salute and solid applause, this time for Wilson's 14th first-class century.
Unfortunately for Wilson and the Volts, the dreaded curse of Nelson's would strike when he reached 111, trapped by a jubilant Anton Devcich shortly after having lost both Hicks (63) and Derek de Boorder at the other end.
The Volts went to tea with two fresh batsmen at the crease in Anaru Kitchen and Nathan Smith, but if ND fancied their chances of striking quickly to wrap things up after the break, Kitchen had other ideas. The pair saw off the new ball, racking up the Volts' 250 on the tins as the southerners continued their patient progress towards their target of 344.
ND watched in frustration as the eighth-wicket stand went past 50 in just 84 balls, Kitchen leading the way before posting his own half century (4x4, 1x6) off just 75 balls. It was game on, ND sweating as the Volts marched past the 300-mark with Kitchen still going strong and two wickets still in hand.
Smith had departed, trapped by paceman Brett Randell, while Sodhi had shouldered the bulk of the bowling workload to be sitting on a three-for, with two tailenders left.
The Volts needed just a further 36 runs when he his former NZ under-19s teammate Jacob Duffy played on, bringing Michael Rae to the middle. There were scenes of jubilation and despair when he made an ungainly prod at Sodhi next over, Sodhi's 42nd, only for the ball to carry on past him to his castle, Kitchen left unbeaten on 69 as the ND celebrations began.
It was a far cry from the 456-run bat-fest of their first dig, and opened the door to the Volts just a tad too widely despite the declaration.
The Volts openers safely negotiated the last eight overs before stumps without loss and will be hoping to avoid handing ND their first win of the season on the final day.
As the first innings ploughs on in Central, the Volts are in a useful position to take care of their current deficit of 314, with six first-innings wickets still in hand by stumps on day two.
Earlier, the impressive batting form of ND wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert produced a career best unbeaten 167 as the visitors were finally dismissed for 456.
The Volts patiently made their way to 142/4 by stumps in reply, opener Hamish Rutherford unbeaten on 67.
This match taking on an entirely different complexion from the ball-dominated affairs further north, Central Otago cricket aficionados were in for a spectacle of fielders chasing leather and bats being raised after ND captain Daniel Flynn was the only captain in this round to win the toss and bat.
Four Northern Districts batsman went past the 50 mark, although in a surely frustrating replay of their opening round draw at Mount Maunganui, none managed to profit to the max from the conditions and kick on.
Still troubled by his hip injury, BJ Watling fell for 56 after opening the innings and fashioning a 76-run stand for the first wicket with his captain, while Anton Devcich continued his solid form in the middle order with 54.
Daryl Mitchell, in his comeback match following off season shoulder reconstruction, added an encouraging 60 before falling to an ugly caught and bowled, much to Jacob Duffy’s delight.
Duffy leading the way as his strong comeback continues, the wickets had been shared around the Volts’ hard-working attack, Tim Seifert unbeaten on 63 at stumps to retain the possibility of kicking on in day two, with Ish Sodhi at the other end.
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