Exciting return of first-class cricket to Bay Oval
A fast-paced game of cricket at the Bay Oval has concluded with defending Plunket Shield champions Canterbury performing a stunning U-turn to claim victory over Northern Districts.
In what was ND’s first Plunket Shield fixture of the season due to Covid-19 restrictions in Auckland they looked well placed for a shock win after removing Canterbury for just 82 in their first innings, in response to ND’s 187.
However, the home side were skittled in their second innings for 123, leaving Canterbury with a catchable target.
At the start of Wednesday’s play Canterbury needed to chase down just 59 runs in the low-scoring thriller, while Northern Districts needed just two more wickets.
However, a ninth-wicket partnership between dependable Canterbury wicketkeeper-batsman Cam Fletcher and Will Williams proved to be the largest of the entire match, an unbroken 73-run stand that ensured Canterbury notched up its third outright on the bounce from the four rounds in the first half of the competition.
Fletcher hit the winning runs to finish on 56 not out, his ninth wicket partner Williams reaching 27 not out - the latter just 11 runs shy of his first-class career-best with the bat.
Canterbury took 16 of the possible 20 points from the win whilst Northern Districts took home four from the first innings bonuses.
The outright win extends Canterbury's position at the top of the table to 56 points, a 28-run buffer over the Otago Volts.
The Northern Districts, who were missing several Blackcaps currently away on international duty, face the Otago volts in their next game in Alexandra.
At Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui: Northern Districts 187 & 123 lost to Canterbury 82 & 229/8 by two wickets (Cam Fletcher 56 not out)