Daniel Richardson

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

Cricket: Hopkins shines on day weather doesn't

Gareth Hopkins. Photo / Getty Images
Gareth Hopkins. Photo / Getty Images

Auckland's Gareth Hopkins found time to stroke his 13th first-class century yesterday, against Central Districts on day one of the latest round of the Plunket Shield.

On a day where weather and good bowling dominated the play, Hopkins, 35, was the only batsman to put up a meaningful total across the three games with his 130 at McLean Park.

Central Districts won the toss against the third-placed Aucklanders and sent them in to bat on a wicket with a reputation for producing plenty of runs.

Central's seamers - shorn of numerous players through injury, including Bevan Small, Adam Milne and Ben Wheeler - ripped through the Auckland top order and had the visitors struggling at 95-7.

Hopkins, though, found a willing running mate in former CD player Mitchell McClenaghan and the pair added 101 for the eighth wicket before McClenaghan was finally dismissed for a valuable 34.

Central have added Zimbabwean seamer Kyle Jarvis to their ranks following the injury crisis among their pacemen and the right-armer showed his worth again.

He claimed 3-41 from 21 overs, while Palmerston North's Roald Badenhorst picked up 3-55 from 16.4 overs.

Hopkins, who belted 18 fours in his 254-minute vigil, was the last man to go as the scoreboard read 234 and his knock gave respectability to what could have been a woeful first-innings total.

Central Districts, who have the imposing figure of New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor in their ranks for the game, didn't take the crease in their first innings as bad light cut the day's play short.

Bad light was a theme that carried down the North Island as Canterbury finished their innings at 283-5 for the day with 92.4 overs bowled against Wellington at the Basin Reserve.

All the Canterbury batsmen reached double figures, although only youngster Henry Nicholls managed to pass the half-century mark and he finished the day unbeaten on 56 with Todd Astle at the other end on 24.

For Wellington, who have shot up the Plunket Shield standings recently to the dizzying heights of second place, Scott Kuggeleijn nabbed 2-72 from 22.4 overs, while the other wickets were spread around.

Canterbury, who are bottom of the table, will be hoping the scheduled storms don't come in during the next couple of days so they can takeadvantage of their promising start and put pressure on the men from the capital.

In Hamilton, rain came to the party early and only 44 overs were possible in the clash between Northern Districts and Otago.

The visitors won the toss and invited the home side to bat first and Joey Yovich (52 not out) made the best of the situation before the heavens opened and their innings was adjourned for the day with the score at 143-4.

Otago's James McMillan found the time to squeeze in 13 overs and he claimed 3-42, while Daniel Flynn (31) was the other not-out batsman with Yovich.

- APNZ

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