Otago end season on high

Otago had the satisfaction of signing off the Plunket Shield season with a commanding win over Wellington in Dunedin.
  
They completed the deal on the fourth morning at University Oval when the Firebirds were dismissed for 343 in their second innings.
  
That left the Volts the winners by an innings and 64 runs after they had piled on 519 for eight declared thanks to a career best 239 from opener Hamish Rutherford.
  
The result was an appropriate farewell present for Otago batsman Craig Cumming in his last first-class match before retirement after 12 seasons with Otago.
  
The die had been cast before the teams returned to the ground this morning when Wellington resumed at 207 for six with Luke Woodcock on 22 and Harry Boam on 20.
  
Boam added just two to his overnight score before seamer Jimmy Neesham had him caught behind, a mode of dismissal used by Southland schoolboy Jacob Duffy to remove Woodcock for 56.
  
Wellington’s lower order held their heads high to keep Otago waiting, with Jeetan Patel making 22, Andy McKay 34 not out and tailender Scott Kuggeleijn a career best 36.
  
McKay and Kuggeleijn, who belted five fours and a six, put on 65 for the 10th wicket but it was always going to be in vain.
  
Offspinner Nathan McCullum ended the match when he caught and bowled Kuggeleijn to finish with the best figures of four for 85 off 33.4 overs while fast bowler Neil Wagner added to his seven-wicket haul in Wellington’s first innings of 112 with two for 102 off 28 overs to complete the shield season with 46 wickets. 

Day three: Wellington behind eight ball

Wellington face a steep uphill struggle to save their Plunket Shield match against Otago in Dunedin.
 
Rolled for a meagre 112 in the first innings Wellington ended the penultimate day on 207 for six batting a second time at University Oval after the home side racked up a formidable 519 for eight declared.
  
That left the Firebirds still needing another 200 runs just to make Otago bat again.
  
The plight facing the visitors came after their top order largely failed to fire as a unit again today.
  
Opener Josh Brodie spent 166 minutes in the middle making 57 and skipper Grant Elliott toiled for two hours to make 45 but Michael Papps managed only four, Stephen Murdoch 22 and James Franklin seven as Wellington again struggled as they fell to 155 for five.
  
Luke Woodcock helped stem the bleeding by sticking around for more than two hours as he cautiously reached 22 while Harry Boam was also there at the close on 20.
  
Offspinner Nathan McCullum was in his element for the hosts. He had the luxury of setting attacking fields and bowled accordingly to finish the day with the best figures of three for 56 off 24 overs.
  
The Volts had declared this morning after advancing from their overnight 486 for seven following a career best 239 from young opener Hamish Rutherford.
  
The declaration came at the fall of Neil Wagner’s wicket after he’d hit five four in reaching 32, leaving Jimmy Neesham unbeaten on the same score.
  
The most successful Wellington bowler was left-armer Andy McKay, who was made to toil in taking three for 138 off 33.2 overs.

Day two: Rutherford rubs it in for Otago

Hamish Rutherford pressed on for a double century as Otago continued to dominate Wellington in their Plunket Shield match at Dunedin.
  
The 22-year-old left-hander converted his third first-class century into a career-best 239 as the Volts reached 486 for seven in their first innings at stumps on the second day at University Oval.
  
Having rolled Wellington for 112 and resuming this morning at 195 for two with Rutherford all set on 104, Otago rubbed it in today as he and skipper Derek de Boorder turned the screws with a partnership of 216 for the sixth wicket.
  
De Boorder’s share was 92 before he was denied a deserved century of his own when left-arm swing bowler Andy McKay trapped him leg before wicket.
  
Rutherford’s marathon stay ended so after that, when offspinner Jeetan Patel had him caught by Harry Boam after he had struck 36 fours in 506 minutes.
  
Medium pacer Boam, was the most successful of the Wellington bowlers, taking three for 76 off 23 overs, while McKay took three for 138 off 33.

Day one: Wagner wrecks Wellington


Otago fast bowler Neil Wagner wrecked Wellington’s first innings with a career-best return in their Plunket Shield match in Dunedin.
  
The 26-year-old left-armer was in outstanding form to capture seven for 46 as Wellington were dismissed for 112 inside 45 overs at University Oval.
  
Otago quickly put Wellington’s effort into context as they reached 195 for two by the close, with 22-year-old left-hander Hamish Rutherford posting his third first-class century of the summer.
  
Openers Rutherford and Craig Cumming gave the hosts the lead before being parted, Cumming falling with the total on 131 in the 28th over.
  
In his final first-class match before retirement, the former international smacked 11 fours in a fine knock of 56 while Rutherford went further, raising three figures shortly before the close.
  
He belted 18 fours in his unbeaten 101 and is set to resume tomorrow alongside Neil Broom on 20.
  
Wagner, who last summer became just the second bowler to claimed 50 or more first-class wickets during a New Zealand domestic season, lifted his personal haul for 2011-12 to 44 after knocking over both openers Michael Papps and Josh Brodie, bowling skipper Grant Elliott for a second ball duck then returning later to scythe through the middle and lower order.
  
Wellington were in immediate strife once Wagner struck early and first wickets on his first-class debut from Southland schoolboy Jacob Duffy left them at an uneasy 16 for three.
  
Their outlook never brightened, with Harry Boam topscoring with 32 batting at No 8, while Stephen Murdoch was the next best with 22, as the visitors could not cope with Wagner, who sent down 15.3 overs.

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