Canterbury are poised to dangle the carrot as they continue to chase victory against the Central Stags with just one day remaining in their Plunket Shield cricket match in Nelson.
With second-placed Auckland securing an eight-wicket outright win over Otago in Dunedin, competition leaders Canterbury were also laying the foundations for the outright win they need at Saxton Oval to potentially put them an unbeatable 20 points clear heading into their final round clash against Wellington at Hagley Oval.
Led by a century from Cole McConchie, Canterbury ended the day at 273-8 in their second innings, an already sizeable lead of 346 runs with three sessions remaining and with Central still an outside chance of snatching their first win of their four-day campaign.
A substantial 117-run sixth-wicket partnership between McConchie and an aggressive Todd Astle had Canterbury in control, McConchie working a single off left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel to bring up his second first class ton just before stumps.
McConchie’s was the final wicket to fall, gone for 131 off the day’s final delivery as Canterbury chased quick runs. Astle had also secured his 20th first class 50 before finally departing for 57 at 253-6.
Canterbury had earlier wrapped up Central’s innings for 315 just before lunch for a handy 73-run lead after Central had resumed the day at 247-6 in response to Canterbury’s first innings total of 388.
It left Central skipper Will Young unbeaten on 128, just four runs shy of his best first class score, after Adam Milne had contributed a breezy 38 runs as part of a 56-run seventh-wicket stand. Young faced 263 balls and hit 14 fours and two sixes.
It took a spectacular one-handed diving slip catch by Peter Fulton off seamer Andy Ellis to end the innings and leave the right-armer with impressive figures of 4-49. Left-arm seamer Ed Nuttall finished with 4-92, including the wickets of Ajaz and Navin Patel off consecutive balls, both caught behind.
After Canterbury had headed to lunch in their second innings at 8-0, three breakthroughs by seamer Blair Tickner provided Central some relative relief at 47-3. That included the key wicket of first innings century-maker Fulton, clean bowled for 13, with openers Chad Bowes (7) and Jack Boyle (20) also among the head count.
Tickner thought he had a fourth but was denied a confident lbw appeal against Ken McClure on 11.
Cole McConchie hooked Tickner for six to pass 50 for the second time in the match, with seamer Navin Patel removing both McClure (25) and Ellis (12) to ensure Central remained well in the fight at 136-5.
But McConchie and Astle had taken control late in the day as they attempted to hasten the process and set Central an enticing target.
At a glance
Canterbury 388 and 273 for 8 (J Boyle 20, K McClure 25, C McConchie 131, T Astle 57, B Tickner 3-54, N Patel 2-32, T Bruce 2-46) met Central Stags 315 (G Worker 72, W Young 128 no, D Cleaver 24, A Milne 38; E Nuttall 4-92, A Ellis 4-49).
Article courtesy of Wayne Martin – Stuff
Imagery courtesy of Photosport NZ