First Up Plunket Shield Ends in a Draw
Published on 26 Oct 2017
Northern Districts have drawn their first Plunket shield match of the season against Central Districts played at Bay Oval in Tauranga. They sit third on the table behind Wellington and Otago.
After the first day was abandoned due to rain, Central Districts skipper Will Young won the toss on day two and inserted Northern Districts into bat. In a rare occurrence, all top six batsman scored fifties with promising Northern Districts number three Bharat Popli scoring a well compiled 84 while current BLACKCAPS Test wicket keeper BJ Watling and opening batsman Tim Seifert both scored 77. Northern Districts skipper Daniel Flynn made a fine return after an injury plagued last season by scoring 62. Northern Districts declared their innings at 439 for 5 and for Central Districts Ajaz Patel was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 83.
In reply Central Districts declared at 313 for 7. The highlight for Central Districts was Brad Schmulian who registered the highest score on debut in New Zealand first class cricket. His score of 203 passing the previous record of 175 set by Canterbury's George Watson in the 1880/81 season. After returning from NZA duties in India, Scott Kuggeleijn continued his impressive form with the ball taking 3 for 67 off 15 overs.
Northern Districts took a lead of 126 runs leading into their second innings. After losing the early wicket of opener Tim Seifert, Daniel Flynn and Bharat Popli continued their fine form with a partnership of 91 before Popli was dismissed for 23. Northern Districts lost a succession of wickets and at one stage were 118 for 5 before Anton Devcich scored a brisk 32 of 21 balls. Northern Districts skipper Daniel Flynn declared the innings at 181 for 9 leaving Central Districts a chase of 308 off 65 overs. Ajaz Patel was again the pick of the bowlers taking 6 for 48 with an overall match haul of 9 for 131.
After negotiating one over before the lunch break, Central Districts had two sessions to chase down the improbable target set by Northern Districts. At one stage Central Districts were well placed at 144 for 2 off 39 overs and were setting themselves up for a possible push towards the target. Once Will Young was dismissed for 32 a succession of wickets followed which included opening batsman Greg Hay who top scored with 76 while debutant Brad Schmulian was unable to repeat his heroics from the first innings. Central District finished their innings at 223 for 7 and the match was drawn. For Northern Districts both Anton Devcich and James Baker picked up two wickets a piece.
Northern Districts now head to Rangiora to face Canterbury for the 2nd round of the Plunket Shield starting on Monday 30th October.
Match Report provided by Adam Bell, commissioned by ND Cricket.