Wellington clung on grimly to deny Plunket Shield leaders Northern Districts another victory today.
They were aided in their quest for a fighting draw by bad light, which arrived 3.3 overs before the scheduled close with the hosts on 241 for nine in their second innings at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Set 330 to win and resuming this morning at 17 for two, Wellington’s best result looked a draw once they fell to 90 for four after the start was delayed for several hours due to morning rain.
Only some middle order resistance from left-hander James Franklin and Michael Pollock revived their hopes but once these two were prised out it became a matter of survival.
Franklin struck eight fours in making 57 and Pollard six fours and one six in his 70 and once the latter departed to leave Wellington at 234 for seven it was a matter the shop doors closing for the home side.
Harry Boam chipped in with a dogged 26 in a touch over 90 minutes as the Knights scented their fifth win through eight rounds but Wellington survived.
The Knights applied a lot of pressure through their bowlers, with seamers Brent Arnel and Graeme Aldridge proving a handful in taking three for 49 and three for 65 respectively while James Baker was parsimonious in claiming two for 15 off 15 overs.
Day 3: Flynn fires up for Knights
Former international Daniel Flynn has shown impeccable timing in more ways than one for Plunket Shield leaders the Northern Knights.
Flynn registered his ninth first-class century for the Knights when they most needed it as they scored 303 in their second innings on the third and penultimate day against Wellington at the Basin Reserve in the capital.
The 26-year-old left-hander almost singlehandedly guided his team to respectability with a pugnacious 136 off 171 balls to leave Wellington a victory target of 330.
Second on the standings behind the Knights entering the match, Wellington did not make a good start, losing both openers Michael Papps and Josh Brodie inside seven overs before reaching 17 for two when rain forced an early finish.
Flynn did a wonderful job for Northern Districts who resumed this morning at two without loss.
Aside from Hamish Marshall with 39, he was the only specialist batsman to get going, dominating the scorecard with his second century in as many matches.
He reached his milestone just before tea then immediately upped the tempo at the restart before finishing with 14 fours and three sixes in 264 minutes as he did his utmost to hold things together in the face of a persistent Wellington attack well led by fast bowler Mark Gillespie.
Brent Arnel played an important role at No 9, contributing 26 to a stand of 64 before Flynn was the last man out, stumped by Papps off offspinner Jeetan Patel.
Gillespie struck two early blows then later returned to take care of Anton Devcich as he ended with figures of three for 78 off 24 overs.
He received very good support from offspinner Jeetan Patel, who took four for 89 off 28.2 overs while seamer Harry Boam had two for 41 off 13.
Day 2: Tail wags for Wellington
Dogged tailend resistance served Wellington well in their Plunket Shield match against competition leaders Northern Knights today.
The Firebirds had been in danger of conceding a significant first innings deficit at the Basin Reserve in the capital before Jeetan Patel and Andy McKay put their heads together.
Instead, Wellington were eventually dismissed for 283 late on the second day, leaving the Knights with a lead of 26 runs which they extended to 36 by reaching 10 without loss by the close.
Patel, who scored 50 not out off just 57 balls, and tailender McKay put on 68 for the last wicket, McKay’s share being a career equal best 26.
The left-arm fast bowler defied the Knights for 76 minutes as Patel swung his bat at the other end to hit seven fours inn his seventh half-century in the first-class arena.
Wellington had resumed this morning at 32 without loss in pursuit of the visitors’ 309 but aside from Stephen Murdoch their specialist batsmen did not do the job expected of them.
Michael Papps made 31 and Grant Elliott 35 but it was only Murdoch’s 77 in 205 minutes which kept his team in the contest before the late revival from Patel and McKay.
Seamers Graeme Aldridge and JD Baker both took three wickets for the Knights at a cost of 81 and 50 runs respectively while young spinner Mitchell Santner and Brent Arnel took two each.
Wellington got the better of Plunket Shield leaders the Northern Knights when their eighth round fixture began in the capital.
The Knights managed 309 in their first innings after being invited to bat first at the Basin Reserve as the Wellington bowlers performed well as a unit.
The hosts replied by reaching 32 without loss by the close and will resume tomorrow with Michael Papps on 22 and Josh Brodie on 10.
Half-centuries from Peter McGlashan, Daniel Flynn and Anton Devcich plus 40 from Graeme Aldridge kept the Knights moving in the right direction.
Flynn and Devcich shared a stand of 106 for the fifth wicket, before wicketkeeper McGlashan hit 10 fours in an unbeaten 52 in 2-1/2 hours and Aldridge hit six fours in 86 minutes as the pair put on 74 for the eighth wicket.
Left-hander had Flynn continued his good recent form with a two-hour 68 while Devcich contributed 54, scored in 103 minutes and featuring five fours and two sixes.
After removing first drop James Marshall for 17, left-arm seamer James Franklin later returned to mop up the tail before ending with figures of four for 36 off 7.4 overs.
Mark Gillespie and Harry Boam also took two wickets apiece.