Former international fast bowler Daryl Tuffey has ensured that the State Auckland Aces will stroll into the State Championship cricket final without having to raise a sweat.
Tuffey was in devastating form today, claiming figures of six for 33 as Northern Districts were shot out for just 218 in their second innings on the third day of the four-day game in Auckland.
That handed the competition leaders victory by an innings and 16 runs, ensuring they will take their place in the domestic season's showpiece starting on April 6.
It also means they can view their final regular season game at home against the State Central Stags can be viewed strictly as match practice.
It is an ideal position to be in and Tuffey's teammates owe him a huge vote of thanks after he relived his glory days with a stunning spell at Eden Park Outer Oval.
The 30-year-old knocked the stuffing out of the top order, removing opener Brad Wilson and the Marshall twins, Hamish and James, as the State Northern Knights slumped to 13 for three.
A stand of 132 between Michael Parlane and Kane Williamson gave the visitors some hope but that vanished quickly after both were dismissed.
Parlane made a fighting 72 while Williamson is obviously a young man in a hurry, following up his first innings century with 95 off just 108 balls.
Outside of this pair, though, and Northern Districts were little better than hopeless as the last five wickets fell for only 12 runs after Tuffey was reintroduced into the atrtack.
Earlier, Tuffey's teammate Colin de Grandhomme registered his second first-class century as he advanced from his overnight 27 not out to 104 as the Auckland machine rolled on. De Grandhomme is now leading the State Championship MVP rankings on 171 points.
Resuming at 397 for six, de Grandhomme really rubbed Northern Districts' noses in it as he smacked eight fours and six sixes as Auckland amassed 540 in their only innings.
His effort built on the 132 scored yesterday by Anaru Kitchen and left Auckland with a first innings lead of 234 runs.
Day 2: Auckand 397 for 6 lead by 91 runs
The State Northern Knights were dismissed for 306 in the final session yesterday with Kane Williamson notching up his maiden first-class century at Eden Park’s Outer Oval in Auckand.
The State Auckland Aces have built a healthy 91 run first innings lead with four wickets in hand at the end of day two.
Anaru Kitchen struck a fine 132 and shared a 199 run partnership with Reece Young for the fourth wicket. Young reached 78.
Colin de Grandhomme will resume tomorrow on 27 with Tarun Nethula on four.
Graham Aldridge was the best for the Knights with three for 67.
Day 1: Northern out for 306, Auckland 14 without loss
Kane Williamson held together a shaky State Northern Knights innings with his maiden first-class century on the first day of their State Championship cricket match against Auckland today.
The State Auckland Aces finished the day on 14 without loss after sending Northern into bat at Eden Park Outer Oval and bowling them out for 306.
Despite missing regular openers Tim McIntosh and Martin Guptill on test duty with the Black Caps, Auckland navigated their way safely through five overs until stumps were drawn when bad light stopped play.
Williamson's knock of 111 came off 144 balls, and included 12 fours and four sixes, as the Tauranga 18-year-old held the Northern innings together.
He came in with the score at 121 for four and made an immediate impact, with all but four of his first 50 runs coming through boundaries.
In only eight first class matches, he has amassed 619 runs at an average of 38.68.
In tandem with wicketkeeper Peter McGlashan, Williamson put on 71 for the fifth wicket -- the most productive partnership of the Northern innings.
But once McGlashan departed for 27, Northern wickets fell regularly and the Auckland bowlers cleaned up the tail quickly after Williamson was removed in the 77th over with the score on 283 for eight.
The ton caps off an excellent week for Williamson, who just five days ago picked up his maiden first-class five-wicket haul, snaring five for 75 against Canterbury in Christchurch on Sunday.
Lance Shaw was the chief destroyer for Auckland, picking up three for 57 off 17 overs, while former Black Cap Daryl Tuffey chipped in with two for 41 from 19.2 overs.
An outright win for competition leaders Auckland, currently two points ahead of Central Districts and five in front of Wellington, would assure them of a place in the final early next month.