Cricket: Canterbury extend lead in Plunket Shield as their main rivals fail to cash in

By Niall Anderson

Auckland now hold second spot, 19 points behind Canterbury, with two rounds to go. Photo / NZPA / Ross Setford
Auckland now hold second spot, 19 points behind Canterbury, with two rounds to go. Photo / NZPA / Ross Setford

Canterbury's position atop the Plunket Shield domestic cricket has extended following the failure of their main rivals yesterday.

Northern Districts and Wellington had a chance to close the gap on the runaway leaders.

But neither side could get over the line in a fascinating final day.

Northern Districts came into the round in second and were set 330 to win in 85 overs by Auckland after Glenn Phillips brought up his maiden first class century.

In the process, Phillips became the first player to record a century in all three domestic formats in one season.

On the smaller Eden Park Outer Oval ground, the chase looked possible at 163-2, with ND opener Henry Cooper following up his debut ton with 83.

However, spinner Tarun Nethula ripped through the order, finishing with 5-84 as Auckland notched a 71-run win with 10 overs to spare.

Auckland now hold second spot, 19 points behind Canterbury, with two rounds to go.

With 20 points on offer per round, they will likely need two outright wins for a chance at the title.

Wellington's hopes are negligible after a frantic finish against Central Districts.

CD were set 200 to win from 39 overs, and looked likely for a significant period as George Worker blasted 85. Needing 42 runs from 46 balls with eight wickets in hand, CD were in prime position, but the asking rate proved tricky as they collapsed, losing seven wickets for 32 runs.

With an over to go, CD needed 12 runs and Wellington two wickets, and neither side could triumph as the game ended in a thrilling draw.

- NZ Herald

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