Otago crush Canterbury in Plunket Shield


The weather cleared long enough for Otago to complete a seven-wicket win over Plunket Shield leaders Canterbury in Dunedin and climb to third with four rounds remaining.

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In a tense finish on the fourth and final day of the round six game at University Oval, Otago knocked off the 134 runs needed to reach their target of 379, with Sam Wells unbeaten on 100 and Neil Broom on 89.

Rain arrived late in the first session with the hosts still 40 runs short and play didn’t resume until late in the afternoon when it cleared enough for play to resume.

The aggressive Wells dominated an unbeaten partnership of 185 on Sunday as Otago lodged their second win of the championship to climb to 55 points, one behind Wellington but still with a gap to Canterbury on 67 points.

Canterbury led by 80 runs in the first innings after scoring 280 and looked to have set a decent target when reaching 298 in the second.

However, Otago never looked like being dismissed as opener Hamish Rutherford (96) and Michael Bracewell (65) laid a foundation.

Elsewhere, Wellington couldn’t close the gap on Canterbury after drawing against Auckland at the Basin Reserve.

Both teams scored 399 in the first innings and there wasn’t time to force a result from there, with rain also having a say on the final day.

Wellington scored 298-9 in their second innings, built around 105 from Grant Elliott, and play ended with Auckland on 11-1.

On Saturday, Central Districts lodged their first win of the season to climb off the bottom of the table.

That spot was taken by Northern Districts, who were skittled for 193 and 139 to lose by three wickets at a testing McLean Park in Napier.

Chasing 70 to win, Central collapsed to 27-7 before Kieran Noema-Barnett and Kruger van Wyk saved their blushes with a decisive stand of 46.