The best laid plans of Wellington and Central Districts amounted to little after rain wrecked their ninth round Plunket Shield match.
No play was possible on the last two days, with the match abandoned shortly after noon today with no prospect of any action.
That foiled the intention of both teams to at least narrow the gaps on competition leaders Northern Districts with one round remaining.
The teams were left to find what satisfaction they could in a draw, after Wellington racked up 501 for six declared before the Stags’ reply barely got under way at one without loss.
Day three: Rain dominates in capital
Wellington were denied the opportunity to press home a dominant position in their Plunket Shield match against Central Districts.
After a ground delay due to damage to the Karori Park sightscreens caused by strong overnight winds in Wellington, rain intervened to put paid to any hopes of play on the scheduled third day.
That leaves the Stags at one without loss in their first innings in answer to Wellington’s imposing 501 for six declared, a total built around a magnificent 188 from captain Grant Elliott and a sparkling 111 from debutant Luke Ronchi.
Day two: Elliot makes sacrifice for team
Wellington captain Grant Elliott placed team above self when declaring his side’s first innings at an imposing 501 for six against Plunket Shield rivals Central Districts.
Elliott left himself stranded on 188 not out at Karori Park, 12 runs short of a maiden first-class double century and just eight shy of his career best score.
It ended a lean trot for the 32-year-old, who resumed the second day of the ninth round match on 145 after sharing substantial stands yesterday with Luke Ronchi (111) and Luke Woodcock (81).
Wellington returned to the suburban ground, this country’s newest first-class venue, at an already healthy 437 for six and continued to deny the Stags any success as Elliott and Harry Boam pushed on.
By the time Elliott declared Boam had made 34 as the Stags bowlers were made to sweat under heavy cloud while Elliott’s big score included 18 fours and one six off 188 balls in 398 minutes.
Three bowlers conceded at least 100 runs, including Zimbabwe medium-fast merchant Kyle Jarvis, who was the most successful of the attack with three for 100 off 23 overs.
Central Districts had barely started their response when bad light then rain curtailed the action, the visitors having reached one without loss off nine balls.
Day one: Elliot, Ronchi in runs for Firebirds
Captain Grant Elliott emerged from an unproductive period and newcomer Luke Ronchi announced his arrival in style as both posted fine centuries for Wellington against Plunket Shield rivals Central Districts.
Elliott and Ronchi christened the country’s newest first-class venue at Karori Park in the capital by scoring 145 not out and 111 respectively in Wellington’s commanding first innings of 437 for six on the opening day of the ninth round encounter.
Elliott’s seventh first-class century, and his first of the season, occupied six hours as the Firebirds dictated terms following a hesitant start.
Elliott had plenty of support, with Ronchi making an immediate impact on debut with a punishing performance while Luke Woodcock was also dominant in making 81.
Elliott may have briefly questioned his decision to bat first when opener Josh Brodie was trapped leg before wicket off the very first delivery of the match but bat later dominated ball after Michael Papps was removed for 31, Stephen Murdoch for 21 and James Franklin for eight.
Woodcock and Elliott joined forces at 86 for four and set about turning things around with an impressive partnership which realised 155 runs at a good clip.
They were parted only when Woodcock was caught at deep backward square leg by Will Young off Steve Smidt after striking 14 fours and one six in a touch under three hours.
Elliott then collaborated with wicketkeeper Ronchi, a former Australian one-day international, who was very aggressive as they two put on 171 in two hours, Ronchi rushing to his century off just 83 balls in 106 minutes.
By the time he departed when bowled by Smidt, Ronchi had belted 13 fours and four sixes off 91 balls to leave a very positive impression in his first appearance since relocating from Perth.
Elliott, who has so far hit 14 fours from 267 balls, will resume tomorrow with Harry Boam on 13.
Fast bowler Kyle Jarvis was the pick of an erratic Stags attack placed under pressure for long periods, ending the day with figures of three for 78 off 19 overs while Smidt had two for 88 off 17.