The State Auckland Aces squeezed out a 22-run win over the State Northern Knights on the final day of a State Championship four-day cricket match at Whangarei.
Northern, chasing 269 for a win, resumed their second innings on 113 for three this morning only to be dismissed for 246.
Their run-chase took a body blow when Hamish Marshall was sent back to the pavilion without adding to his overnight score of 43 when he was caught by Tarun Nethula off pace bowler Lance Shaw.
Bradley Scott hung around for 27 runs but when Michael Parlane, who got 75 in the first innings, went for eight Northern were on the ropes.
The hard-hitting Joseph Yovich carried Northern's hopes from there but could not find support at the other end as the Auckland bowlers tightened the screws.
Leg spinner Nethula, who took four wickets in the first innings, trapped Scott leg before wicket to cut short a promising partnership with Yovich of 21 runs.
Fast bowler Colin de Grandhomme then stepped in to claim the wickets of Graham Aldridge for 14 and Jono Boult for five.
There was still another twist left when Te Ahu Davis joined Yovich at the crease.
Davis smashed five boundaries and a six off 26 balls for a rollicking 30 but paid the price for his high-octane approach when bowled by de Grandhomme, who notched a second innings three for 40 off 14 overs. Grandhomme has now moved to the top of the MVP State Championship rankings.
Yovich battled on but could not master an outswinger from Daryl Tuffey and edged to Scott Styris in the slips, ending his innings on 41.
The result gave Auckland two wins from five matches, putting them on 19 points.
Outstanding for Auckland were wicketkeeper Gareth Hopkins who rescued his side from 134 for eight with a century in their second innings.
Also making major contributions were Tuffey, who scored a vital half century in a 106-run second innings partnership with Hopkins and took four wickets in the match, and Nethula who bagged a total of six wickets.
Wicketkeeper batsman Gareth Hopkins made 100 for the State Auckland Aces as they reached 259 in their second innings.
Daryl Tuffey, batting at No10 was the next best for the Aces with 53.
Knights bowler JJ Boult, who has replaced spinner Bruce Martin who was called up for New Zealand A duty, took four for 78.
The Knights are 113 for three chasing 268 for victory with Hamish Marshall not out on 43.
The State Northern Knights conceded a nine run first innings lead on day two after the State Auckland Aces made 277 in their first innings in the State Championship match at Cobham Oval in Whangarei.
Knights opener Brad Wilson made 62 veteran Michael Parlane top scored with 75. Aces legspinner Tarun Nethula took four for 72 with pace bowler Daryl Tuffey taking three for 45.
Auckland will resume their second innings on day three with a nine run lead on 27 for one.
The State Auckland Aces chose to bat after a rain delayed start to the match against the State Northern Knights in Whangarei. Auckland lost early wickets before a 77 run partnership between Scott Styris and Stephen Croft steadied the innings. Croft was dismissed three short of his half century with Styris being dismissed on 95. Colin de Grandhomme made an impressive 63 as the Aces were all out for 277 shortly before the end of play.
Northern bowler Graeme Aldridge took three of 46 with Te Ahu Davies, Joseph Yovich and Anton Devcich picking up two apiece.