Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Cricket: Otago hold on while CD win

Neil Broom scored his 11th first-class century as Otago fought their way to a creditable draw in their Plunket Shield outing against Northern Districts in Hamilton today.

The southern men began the day at 12-2 in pursuit of an unlikely total of 440 for victory but managed to bat out 105 overs on day four at Seddon Park to deny Northern Districts what seemed a certain victory as they finished play on 353-8.

Broom, batting at No 5, finished the day unbeaten on 146 from 267 balls and plundered 19 fours during his knock that lasted nearly six hours, while he also had admirable support from his lower-order partners, including Ian Butler, who was also there at the day's end, unbeaten on six.

First-innings centurion Jimmy Neesham crafted 32 as he occupied the crease for more than an hour but the key contribution came from No 9 Mark Craig who made 93 and - more importantly - spent 157 minutes in the middle.

In his previous six first-class games, Craig had never passed 28 and only boasted a batting average of 13.71, but the 25-year-old put on 149 runs with Broom, which was a record for the eighth wicket for Otago against ND.

James Baker was the pick of the Northern bowlers with 3-74 from 24 overs, while rookie leg-spinner Ish Sodhi got through 32 overs and finished with 2-100.

Broom's knock will take his first-class career batting average above 40 after he came in to the game with a mark of 39.97.

It will have been a frustrating result for Northern Districts who began the day needing eight wickets and captain Brad Wilson had a useful bowling attack at his disposal, including former test seamer Brent Arnel.

In Napier, Central Districts laboured to an eventual outright victory after Auckland produced an impressive rearguard action on day four.

Auckland began the day on 210-7 in their second innings, 10 runs behind after they made 210 in their first innings and CD declared their first dig closed at 430-9 earlier in the match.

With defeat looming large, Auckland No 7 Colin Munro went out and brought up his second first-class century as he made 103, while he combined with Michael Bates (59) who put on 133, which was a record mark for Auckland against CD for the eighth wicket.

Their resistance meant that Central were faced with the tricky run chase of 146 for victory and they began steadily before veteran seamer Bruce Martin removed the in-form Carl Cachopa and the evergreen Mathew Sinclair in quick succession.

At that point, Central were on the ropes at 57-3 but a patient 48 from Jeet Raval and a valuable 36 from 19-year-old Will Young saw the home side creep towards their target at Nelson Park.

Eventually, skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett, who finished unbeaten on 14, and Doug Bracewell, who was not out on 13, flogged a few boundaries late in the day to ensure a four-wicket win.

Martin finished with 3-44 from 15


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