The Wellington Firebirds squeezed out a 38 run win on the final day of the Plunket Shield match against the Northern Knights at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Northern required 273 to win on the final day with all their wickets in hand. They made a solid start with BJ Watling and Brad Wilson putting on 53 for the first wicket and then Watling and Michael Parlane putting on 52 for the second.
The wicket of Parlane for 27 sparked a collapse that saw them lose their next five batsmen for 82 runs.
The biggest blow was the loss of Watling for 90. Southee give the home side a glimmer of hope with a hard hitting innings of 22 before being the final wicket to fall.
Luke Woodcock (93) and Joe Austin-Smellie (97) were outstanding for Wellington yesterday, rescuing the innings and turning the match in their favour.
Dewayne Bowden was the chief destroyer for the Firebirds taking four for 48 with Jeetan Patel contributing three for 77. Patel picked up seven wickets for the match pushing up to first place in the MVP table.
The Knights remain at the top of the table despite the loss with the Firebirds leap frogging the Canterbury Wizards to occupy second spot.
Day 3: Northern Knights 14 without trail Wellington Firebirds by 273
The Wellington Firebirds have clawed their way back into the match after some lower order heroics on day three of the Plunket Shield match against the Northern Knights at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
The visitors started the day on nine for three and things only got worse when Harry Boam and Neal Parlane fell early to have them in all sorts of trouble at 33 for five.
Luke Woodcock then resurrected the innings with a brilliant 93 with twenty year old wicketkeeper batsman Joe Austin-Smellie hitting 97 in his debut match.
Austin-Smellie is a former New Zealand U19 player and Wellington age-grade representative and was handed the wicket keeping duties from Chris Nevin who is on paternity leave for this game.
Brent Arnel continued his fine form with the ball taking five for 47.
The match is evenly poised with Northern currently 14 without loss, requiring a further 273 to win.
Day 2: Wellington nine for three trail Northern Knights by nine
The Northern Knights have secured first innings points after sneaking past Wellington’s total on day two of the Plunket Shield match at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
It wasn’t looking good for the home side early on as Wellington ripped through their top order, reducing them to 51 for five before Peter McGlashan and Joseph Yovich steadied the ship and then gave their team ascendency.
They put on 115 for the sixth wicket with McGlashan making 81 and Yovich 80 and were eventually all out for 281 giving them a slender lead of 18 runs.
English import Charlie Shreck was the best of the Central bowlers taking four for 48.
The Wellington Firebirds have made a shocking start to their second innings losing opener Josh Brodie for 4 then Matthew Bell and Cameron Merchant for duck leaving them reeling at nine for three after six overs.
Brent Arnel has taken all of the wickets so far to end the day with figures of three for four.
Day 1: Northern Knights six without loss, trail Wellington Firebirds by 257
The Wellington Firebirds put on 263 after being put into bat on day one of the Plunket Shield match against the Northern Knights at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
In form batsmen Josh Brodie and Cameron Merchant top scored for the Firebirds with 69 and 80 respectively. Merchant is backing up from his maiden First Class ton in the last match.
All rounder Luke Woodcock was the other batsman to make runs with 58 with the rest of Firebirds line up falling on single figure scores.
Strike bowler Tim Southee was best on the park taking an incredible eight for 27 – his career best bowling figures.
The Northern Knights have started their reply and will resume tomorrow on six without loss.