A capital day for Peter Younghusband | PHOTOSPORT

Plunket Shield race for survival begins


2023/24 Plunket Shield frontrunner Northern Districts has handed a lifeline to the chasing pack after securing just one of the four first innings batting points on offer to them in Rangiora.

Northern headed into today’s match knowing that if they could bag the full 20 points across this seventh-round four-dayer, it would be enough to bump out the Central Stags, Canterbury and the Otago Volts in one fell swoop.

That would have left the Wellington Firebirds as the only other side in contention heading into next week's final round — when ND and the Firebirds will be playing each other.

But that trio of chasing teams can breathe slightly easier, for now at least, after Canterbury quickly pushed Northern onto the back foot after sending them in at Mainpower Oval this morning.


With local allrounder Zak Foulkes (3/54) again getting the Kookaburra to swing round corners, ND found themselves in trouble at 72/5 – before returning BLACKCAPS Scott Kuggeleijn (65) and Tim Seifert (an aggressive 49) pumped up the lower order to save their side from being bowled out cheaply.

The leaders rebounded, ultimately reaching a middling 235, and by stumps had Canterbury in early strife at 43/3 — putting a first bowling point in the Northern coffers and leaving Canterbury to find another 193 runs tomorrow for a first-innings lead with seven wickets remaining.

On a fresh Saturday morning, Canterbury (in Rangiora), the Central Stags (in Napier) and the Wellington Firebirds (in Wellington) all sent in their opposition after winning the toss, and all three of those teams ended the day with the maximum four out of four bowling bonus points for taking nine wickets by the 110-over mark.


Even a magnitude 4.6 earthquake in the capital couldn’t rattle the Firebirds as longserving leg-spinner Peter Younghusband (5/65) ripped out just his second first-class five-wicket bag, and a new career best, at a chilly Cello Basin Reserve.

Younghusband put himself on a hat-trick in a double wicket maiden in the 46th over, grabbing a return catch to dismiss young Jamal Todd at 143/4, then sending Volts all-round dangerman Luke Georgeson on his way for a golden duck.

Max Chu survived the hat-trick ball, but was one of just four Volts batters to reach double figures as the Firebirds bundled them out in 83.5 overs for 280. 

Most of those runs had come from opener Thorn Parkes (62) and Dale Phillips in a century stand for the second wicket.


Phillips ground out a fighting fifth first-class century — a knock of 127 that spanned most of the Otago Volts’ innings. By stumps, Georgeson had extracted some revenge against the hosts by quickly nabbing their first two wickets, the Firebirds set to begin Day Two (Sunday) at 35/2, trailing by 245.

In Napier, wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver was a busy man behind the stumps as the Stags bowled out the bottom of the table Auckland Aces for 240.


Cleaver took five catches off his pacemen while none of the Aucklanders reached a half century at McLean Park.

Batting at seven, Jock McKenzie top-scored with 48. He had been lucky to survive against Liam Dudding earlier in his innings, after a big LBW shout, followed by two French cuts that came within a whisker of shattering his stumps — all in the space of three nerve-wracking balls.

Dudding eventually got his man to finish with 3/63, Blair Tickner also in the wickets again with 4/62, while Doug Bracewell conceded just five runs off his opening five-over spell, in his first game back from injury. Bracewell went on to finish with a miserly 1/18 from his 15 across the day.


The Aces lost their final wicket on the stroke of stumps, and will take the new ball in the morning when the Stags begin their first innings reply.

Play resumes at 10.30am, weather permitting, at all venues, with free admission and free livestreams at NZC YouTube, and livescoring at www.nzc.nz and on the NZC app


10.30am, Saturday 16 to Tuesday 19 March, 2024

FREE admission

  • Central Stags v Auckland Aces at McLean Park, Napier
  • Canterbury v Northern Districts at Mainpower Oval, Rangiora
  • Wellington Firebirds v Otago Volts at Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington







Asahi CCC Dream11 Dulux Ford Gillette GJ Gardner KFC Life Direct Pals Powerade Spark Spark