Central Districts added an exclamation mark to their Plunket Shield season by registering a huge win over the new champions Northern Districts in Napier.
The Stags won the final round fixture by 252 runs at Nelson Park by dismissing the Knights for 169 in their second innings.
The Knights were without Peter McGlashan, mourning the death of his grandmother, but his absence had no bearing on the outcome as the visitors were outplayed in all facets.
Northern Districts secured the shield title yesterday when events elsewhere meant they could not be overtaken atop the standings, but they would have liked to have made the Stags work harder for their success after resuming this morning at 12 for one.
Their target of 422 remained well off in the distance when the Knights fell to 55 for four when skipper Brad Wilson was dismissed for 37 by legspinner Tarun Nethula.
Brook Hatwell showed some defiance to make 47 and Daryl Mitchell made 42 but thereafter Nethula took control to finish with figures of five for 57 off 21.2 overs.
It marked Nethula’s third five-wicket bag in 30 first-class appearances.
Day three: Shield in Knights' safe keeping
Northern Districts have secured the Plunket Shield for 2011/12 with one day remaining in their final round fixture against Central Districts.
Events elsewhere mean the Knights cannot be overtaken atop the standings irrespective of the outcome in Napier tomorrow.
This is just as well because they ended the third and penultimate day at Nelson Park with a lot of work to do if they are to achieve the result they want.
The visitors return to the match venue tomorrow at 12 for one in their second innings after being left a challenging 422 to win when the Stags declared their second innings at 323 for four.
After securing a first innings lead of 98, the home team restarted this morning on three without loss and proceeded to put together a series of more than handy partnerships.
Opener Carl Cachopa started the ball rolling with 38 then first drop Dean Robinson reached 56 before retiring hurt and veteran Mathew Sinclair contributed a boundary laden 65 to complete the season with the leading aggregate of 809 runs.
As well, Kieran Noema-Barnett followed up his first innings century with an attacking 69 not out and Dane Cleaver scored an unbeaten 51 after these two collaborated in an unbroken stand of 108 for the fifth wicket.
The Knights were asked to see off 10 overs at the end of the day, a brief stint which cost them Joseph Yovich, who was trapped leg before wicket by Roald Badenhorst.
Taking guard tomorrow as they eye a distant target will be skipper Brad Wilson on five and nightwatchman Brent Arnel, who has yet to score.
Day two: Central get better of Northern
Central Districts must fancy their chances of upsetting Plunket Shield leaders Northern Districts at Napier.
Their final round match at Nelson Park reached the midway point today with the Stags leading overall by 101 runs with 10 second innings wickets in hand.
They were three without loss by stumps on the second day after earlier denying the Knights a batting bonus point.
Responding to the home side’s 342, Northern Districts were dismissed for 244, just six short of the mark they sought to claim the bonus point which would have guaranteed them the shield title for the season.
Only two Knights batsmen made serious inroads today, with wicketkeeper Peter McGlashan topscoring with 72 in just under three hours, while opener Joseph Yovich scored 61 after his side were in bother at 64 for four.
The Stags bowlers shared the wickets around, with Kieran Noema-Barnett following up his century on the first day by claiming two for 20 off 15 overs and Martin Kain took two for 64 off 24.
Day one: Cachopa in runs again for central
Carl Cachopa and Kieran Noema-Barnett cracked centuries as Central Districts enjoyed their work against Plunket Shield leaders Northern Districts in Napier.
Cachopa made 111, his third shield century of the summer, and Noema-Barnett 105 not out to help guide the Stags to 342 all out on the first day of the final round fixture at Nelson Park.
The 25-year-older stuck around for 12 minutes under five hours to hit 16 boundaries after the Stags were in early bother at 26 for two.
He put on 113 for the third wicket with veteran Mathew Sinclair, who contributed 66 off only 79 balls, and 110 for the fourth wicket with Noema-Barnett before his innings ended via an edge behind off seamer Brent Arnel.
Noema-Barnett totally dominated the latter stages of the innings as his lower order colleagues came and went, with the last five wickets falling for 53 runs.
His reached three figures just before the close with his second six to complement 14 fours before tailender Kyle Jarvis became the fourth victim of seamer Graeme Aldridge.
Aldridge ended with four for 47 while left-armer Trent Boult took three for 73 and Arnel had two for 87.