Nailbiter Finish in Plunket Shield Clash Against Canterbury

Published on 02 Nov 2017

Canterbury have defeated Northern Districts by just 8 runs in a thrilling second round Plunket Shield match played at Main Power Oval in Rangiora. 

Canterbury skipper Andrew Ellis won the toss and decided to bat first.  Canterbury were in early trouble losing opening batsman Jack Boyle before Ken McClure (79) and Chad Bowes (65) combined for an impressive 148 run stand for the second wicket.  Middle order batsman Cole McConchie was looking in good form and was on track to reach his century before he was dismissed by Scott Kuggeleijn for 85.  His dismissal would lead to a Canterbury collapse as they lost their last 5 wickets for 77 runs.  Scott Kuggeleijn continued his impressive early season form with 3 for 88 while Brett Randell and Joe Walker picked up two wickets apiece. 

Northern Districts were dismissed for 339 in their first innings.  The highlight for Northern Districts was a century to Anton Devcich who scored 116 off just 112 balls, this being his fourth first class century. He received key support from lower order batsman Joe Walker, who contributed with 33 off 37 balls to take Northern Districts score within reach of Canterbury's first innings total.  Earlier Bharat Popli (76) continued his fine form with a half century.  For Canterbury, off spinner Tim Johnston was the pick of the bowlers with 5 for 78. 

Canterbury took a handy lead of 42 heading into their second innings at bat.  Northern Districts made early inroads into the Canterbury batting line up, with James Baker dismissing both top order batsmen Ken McClure and Jack Boyle without scoring.  Canterbury were reeling at 54 for 5 at one stage before Australian import Daniel Sams batting at number seven scored a quick fire 88 off 74 balls which included six sixes.  Canterbury were eventually dismissed for 202.  James Baker and Scott Kuggeleijn taking three wickets each. 

Northern Districts began day four with a target of 246 required for victory.  They began the chase well, with opening batsman Henry Cooper (52) and Bharat Popli (46) combining for a partnership of 80, and at lunch were 91/2 and in a strong position heading into the final two sessions of the match.  Canterbury's twenty one year old spinner Blake Coburn would take the two important wickets of Popli and Tim Seifert (47).  Losing wickets at regular intervals they were reduced to 205 for 9 with 41 runs still required for victory.  A final wicket partnership of 31 between Brent Arnel and Joe Walker kept Northern Districts in sight of victory, before Arnel was trapped LBW by Coburn who finished the innings with 7 for 64 in only his second first class match. 

Northern Districts now face Wellington in the 3rd round of the Plunket Shield starting on Tuesday 7th of November at Seddon Park in Hamilton.  

Match report by Adam Bell, commissioned by Northern Districts.