Cricket: CD win Plunket Shield title

Mathew Sinclair of Central Districts. Photo / Linda Robertson.
Mathew Sinclair of Central Districts. Photo / Linda Robertson.

Otago's loss became Central Districts' gain as the Stags claimed this season's Plunket Shield honours today.

Otago were bowled out for 145 in pursuit of 200 for victory on day four of their match against Wellington at the Basin Reserve, which meant they wouldn't be able to overhaul the small lead CD held over the southern men heading in to the final round of the competition this week.

New Zealand test hopeful Mark Gillespie picked up 4-50 in Otago's second innings as none of the visiting batsmen managed a half century, although Jimmy Neesham made 49 and Michael Bracewell added 45.

Gillespie found useful support from off-spinner Jeetan Patel who nabbed 3-52 after making an unbeaten 60 with the bat during Wellington's second innings as they fought their way to 322 to set Otago a challenging target, which ultimately proved too much.

But the day belonged to Central Districts who drew with Northern Districts at the Saxton Oval in Nelson as they won New Zealand's domestic four-day cricket crown for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.

ND declared their second innings at 435-9 today after James Marshall struck 156 not out, while Ish Sodhi made 51 and CD seamer Ben Wheeler took 5-91.

It meant CD needed 285 for an outright victory on the final day of the competition but when Otago were rolled over the result didn't matter and Central Districts could celebrate.

"We've played some great cricket all year and we got what we were after,'' CD coach Alan Hunt told APNZ.

"We've just got a group of guys who are suited to four-day cricket at the moment. We've gone through a bit of a development phase with some of the players and I think we are more suited to this longer form having obviously struggled in the HRV Cup. But this is a tough competition over 40 days and to win this is a great performance.''

Canterbury beat Auckland by nine wickets yesterday (fri) in the final round's other match to leave Auckland with the wooden spoon.

New Zealand's domestic cricket sides will now turn their focus to the 50-over competition, which gets underway on Tuesday.

Final Plunket Shield standings: Central Districts 132, Otago 122, Northern Districts 100, Wellington 89, Canterbury 88, Auckland 69.


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