Cricket: Wellington and ND start season with wins

By David Leggat

Michael Papps of the Firebirds plays a shot. Photo / Photosport
Michael Papps of the Firebirds plays a shot. Photo / Photosport

Wellington have got off to a resounding start with a convincing six-wicket win in the opening domestic cricket Plunket Shield round against Auckland at Mt Maunganui today.

In the process, veteran opener Michael Papps became the first player to complete 10,000 runs in domestic first-class cricket - last season he became one of 25 New Zealanders to have a total of 10,000 in all first-class cricket - and his opening stand of 106 with fellow senior player Luke Woodcock in Wellington's pursuit of 275 to win, was a key part in the victory.

"Being first to 10,000 Plunket Shield runs is a special thing. It's a prestigious competition and to be first is a real honour," said the former test opener.

Another former test batsman, Hamish Marshall, made 39 and first innings centurymaker Stephen Murdoch contributed 31 to the run chase.

In Christchurch, Northern Districts beat Canterbury by five wickets with 13 overs to spare to go top of the table.

Canterbury were dismissed in their second innings at 195 for nine, with opener Chad Bowes retired hurt, as seamer Scott Kuggeleijn took six for 60, giving him match figures of nine for 190.

ND were left 196 to win and at 147 for five, things were interesting. However a 51-run stand in 74 ball by Daryl Mitchell (51 not out) and Tim Seifert (31 not out) ensured the win.

Otago batted out time to an early finish in their rain-soaked draw against Central Districts in Nelson.

The game was called off with Otago 238 for two in their second innings, after opener Brad Wilson had completed his second 100 of the match, 117 not out, while Hamish Rutherford had followed his first innings 143 with 73.

Otago were 352 ahead when stumps were pulled in mid afternoon.

The second rounds starts next Saturday with Auckland hosting Otago at Eden Park No 2, Wellington play ND in the capital and Canterbury face CD in Christchurch.

Points: ND 19, Wellington 18, Canterbury 7, Auckland 6, Otago 5, CD 5.

- NZ Herald

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