Three teams remain in the hunt to win the Plunket Shield after Canterbury were unable to wrap up the title this afternoon.
Canterbury required an outright win over Central Districts to create an unassailable lead at the top of the Plunket Shield ladder, but they were denied by a match-winning century from Jesse Ryder.
Set 347 to win in 96 overs, Ryder played the pivotal hand with an unbeaten 109, leading CD to an impressive four-wicket win.
Ryder started sedately, with his fifty taking 106 balls and his century 179 as he picked his spots. He struck 15 boundaries, picking up a slew of them by easily swatting short balls from Canterbury's spinners through the legside.
Todd Astle and Logan Van Beek had earlier taken key wickets to reduce CD to 205-5, but contributions from George Worker (53), Will Young (47), Dane Cleaver (48) and Adam Milne (29 not out) combined with Ryder to put Canterbury's celebrations on hold.
Canterbury remain eight points clear of Auckland, who beat Otago on Thursday, and 14 points ahead of Northern Districts, who today wrapped up a nine-wicket win over Wellington.
Wellington gave themselves a glimmer of hope at victory in the morning when Michael Papps and Brent Arnel added 89 for the final wicket of their second innings. Papps finished on 160, making 59 per cent of Wellington's total of 269.
ND were left needing 159 for victory, and lost Henry Cooper early, but Dean Brownlie (76) and Bharat Popli (75) combined to make the chase a cruise for the hosts on the slow wicket. Wellington strangely bowled both their wicketkeepers, with Tom Blundell and Luke Ronchi bowling eight overs between them.
Canterbury take on Wellington in their final round, needing an outright win to claim the title without having to rely on other results going their way. Conversely, they will raise the Shield if Northern Districts and Auckland fail to record an outright win against Otago and Central Districts respectively.
In the event of a tie at the top, Canterbury hold the relevant Net Runs Per Wicket tiebreaker by a significant margin.