Day 3: Knights clear at top of the table

The Northern Knights have extended their lead at the top of the Plunket Shield table after beating the Wellington Firebirds by nine wickets in less than three days.

Wellington started the day on 101 for two but were still 106 run behind the Northern Knights after a shaky first innings of 193 let them down.

Stephen Murdoch provided some resistance with a defiant 79 but went unsupported with opener Neal Parlane’s 76 the only other score of note as the Firebirds were all out for 248 in their second dig.

It was the Northern quicks that did the damage with Brent Arnel taking three for 51 and Graeme Aldridge snaring three for 47.  Aldridge finished with nine for the match after taking six in the first innings.

BJ Watling (21) was the only wicket to fall as the Knights easily knocked off the 44 runs required for the outright win.

The victory was set up by a stunning 170 by Kane Williamson on day two as the Northern batting line up powered their way to 400.

Northern are sitting pretty at the top of the table on 36 points, 16 points clear of second placed Canterbury with three rounds to play.  The Wellington Firebirds are not out of the running on 16 points but will need to force results if they are to threaten top spot.

Day 2: Wellington Firebirds trail by 106 runs with 8 wickets in hand

Competition leaders, the Northern Knights, are in complete control after Kane Williamson struck a superb 170 against the Wellington Firebirds.

It was the best of Williamson’s three First Class tons, surpassing his previous top score of 111.  The fluent innings was studded with 23 boundaries and came off 233 deliveries.

The next best was 59 from Michael Parlane with Peter McGlashan (43) and Graeme Aldridge (31) chipping in towards the end.

Wellington fought back and quickly mopped up the tail, taking the last three wicket for no runs.  Andrew Lamb, Michael Burns, Stewart Rhodes and Jeetan Patel all picked up two wickets.

Neal Parlane ensured the Firebirds got their second innings off to a better start with a solid 51 not out and will resume tomorrow with Luke Woodcock (13*) with the score on 101 for two.

Day 1: Knights trail by 54 runs with 9 wickets in hand

A six wicket haul by strike bowler Graeme Aldridge has the Northern Knights in the driver seat at the end of the first day of their Plunket Shield match against the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.

The quick bowler ripped out both openers to have the Firebirds in early trouble at 18 for two before decimating the lower order to finish with six for 57. 
 
It is the second time Aldridge has bagged six wickets this year after recording career best figures of six for 49 earlier in the season.

Wellington’s form batsmen Luke Woodcock (33) and Stewart Rhodes (24) got starts while wicketkeeper batsman Chris Nevin top scored with resilient 53 as the home side was bowled out for 193.

Any concerns about the pitch being responsible for the low score were quickly dispelled by Knights batsmen Michael Parlane and Kane Williamson who piled on the runs.

The pair came together in the in the first over after opener BJ Watling got a second ball duck and took the score through to 139 for 1. 

Parlane, usually the aggressor hit 54* with young Williamson dominating the scoring with 74* to put the Knights in complete control at 139 for one at stumps

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