First innings batting bonus points, Canterbury 4 (maximum achieved), Central Stags 3 (completed)
First innings bowling bonus points, Central Stags 3 (completed), Canterbury 4 (maximum achieved)
Canterbury began “moving day” hunting a quick, full bag of bowling bonus points, but the Stags were determined to make them work for them.
Adam Milne got off the mark with a boundary first over of the day, and helped his captain Will Young chip away at the Cantabrian lead with quick runs in the first hour.
Capable Milne would help post the Stags’ 300 as they shared a fifty stand for the seventh wicket, and he reached 38 off 52 balls on his own before Logan van Beek finally broke the pesky partnership shortly after drinks, his first wicket of the match.
It was the start of a speedy fightback from the visitors, Ed Nuttall then tearing in to put himself on a hat-trick with the wickets of both Patels, the Stags sliding from 304 for seven to 304 for nine to hand Canterbury the fourth and final bonus point.
Blair Tickner would survive the hat-trick ball and looked to hunker down with Young, unbeaten on 121 at the other end.
The big number eleven lasted 22 minutes before Ellis had him caught, to a magnificent low, one-handed grab at slip from Peter Fulton; the Stags all out before lunch for 315, giving Canterbury a 73-run first innings lead.
Young’s unbeaten 128 had been just a boundary shy of his highest first-class score.
The middle session did not begin well for Canterbury either, Stags paceman Tickner picking up three big early wickets in Chad Bowes, Jack Boyle and Fulton.
By tea, Ken McClure and Cole McConchie had scrabbled through to 75 for three, their lead now 148 as the Plunket Shield frontrunners strove to recover — well aware that, down south, the second-placed Auckland Aces had got themselves into a winning position against the Volts. Canterbury now knew they needed an outright if they were to sew up the title with a round to spare.
McConchie was up for the challenge. The 25-year-old would go on to slam his second half century of the match with a six, then pelt another six off Tickner to register a 50-stand with Andrew Ellis in the same over.
Just as it seemed Canterbury was upping the stakes, the fifth-wicket stand was broken. Andrew Ellis had caught the bug, only to send a Navin Patel delivery out to Adam Milne in the deep instead. He walked back into the pavilion with the lead at 209, and McConchie was still in a position to drive Canterbury steadily forward.
McConchie buckled up and put the foot on the gas as the afternoon progressed. With Todd Astle he would pile on 117 runs for the sixth wicket, by which time Astle had his own half century, and McConchie a century off 130 balls (8 x 4, 3 x 6).
It had been a long afternoon for the Stags when, in the last half hour, suddenly the wickets came in a handful. Golden arm Tom Bruce picked up Astle and Tim Johnston in the space of three balls. Then fellow spinner Ajaz Patel claimed McConchie at the end of a brutal next over. It had cost 16 runs by the time McConchie was finally stopped on a career-best 131.
And that was stumps. Canterbury heads into the last day ideally placed with a 346-run lead, the bottom-placed Stags ironically the only side that can stop them from lifting the Shield with a round to spare.
Article Courtesy of New Zealand Cricket.
Imagery Courtesy of Photosport NZ