Astle Century Not Enough for Canterbury

Todd Astle came of age but was denied the chance to celebrate in the appropriate fashion as Canterbury's State Championship cricket match against Northern Districts ended in a draw in Hamilton today.

Astle struck his maiden first-class century as Canterbury threatened to secure their first points of the summer before a middle and lower order collapse on the last afternoon at Seddon Park.

The 22-year-old right-handed opener hit 101, containing 16 fours and two sixes, to give his side all the impetus they needed to run down a target of 318 off a minimum of 84 overs.

They finished on 294 for eight with eight balls remaining when captain Kruger van Wyk accepted an offer of bad light from the umpires.

In his 27th first-class appearance, Astle ensured his side made a bright start, putting on 122 with his opening partner Andrew Ellis, who contributed 29.

Test reject Peter Fulton helped add another 49 for the second wicket before Astle's stay ended after 200 minutes when Kane Williamson accepted a catch off Graeme Aldridge.

Fulton went on to make 56 and the match was there for the taking for Canterbury before they panicked, losing Johann Myburgh, Corey Anderson and Brandon Hiini to run outs in the space of seven overs.

Michael Davidson and Shanan Stewart were then caught on the boundary as the asking rate climbed in the latter stages before the light came to their rescue.

Until late this morning Northern Districts had made all the running in the match, earning a first-innings lead of 165 runs and resuming today at 45 for two in their second innings.

Their intentions were clear from the outset as captain James Marshall smacked a quickfire 30 and the declaration soon followed with the hosts on 158 for five after just 28 overs.

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