Another Michael Papps century has seen the Wellington
Firebirds draw with the Canterbury Wizards at Karori Park in Wellington.
The Firebirds had been set a daunting total of 395 to win,
with the Wizards needing to capture ten wickets on the final day. Instead, the
sides played out a stale mate, with Papps (103*) and Stephen Murdoch (17*)
batting out the final two session of the day.
The Wizards had batted through to lunch and declared at 255
for five. They went in search of early wickets, but came up fruitless against a
resilient Murdoch and entertaining Papps.
While Murdoch faced a massive 122 balls for 17 runs, Papps
was in full flight, notching up his century after just 115 balls. It’s his
second century against the Wizards in a row, having scored 188 in their
The teams will now take a break from the Plunket Shield,
with plenty of HRV Twenty20 action over the Christmas and New Years period.
Day three: Canterbury Wizards 471-8dec (Tom Latham 241*, Henry Nichols 70, Shannon Stewart 60, Andy McKay 4-97) and 161-2 (Dean Brownlie 72, Rob Nicol 52*) lead Wellington Firebirds 337 (James Franklin 108, Mark Gillespie 78, Hamish Bennett 5-76) by 300 runs
James Franklin may have just saved his Wellington Firebird’s side from defeat, scoring a brilliant century against the Canterbury Wizards on day three of their Plunket Shield match at Karori Park.
Having started the day 161 for seven in response to the Wizards 471, the Firebirds looked destined to have to follow-on. However, a true skipper’s knock of 108 to Franklin and a remarkable 78 to Mark Gillespie elevated them to 332.
They still have their work cut out for them though, with the Wizards adding to their first-innings lead of 138, concluding the day at 161 for two with a lead of 300.
Rob Nicol (52*) and Dean Brownlie (72*) helped guide Canterbury to a powerful position by day’s end, with Nicol hoping to add a few more runs on the final morning before the Wizards bowlers take another crack in search of victory.
They’ll be wary of the Firebirds lower-order no doubt, having been stung by ht likes of Gillespie and Jeetan Patel in the first-innings.
Anchored by Franklin, Gillespie in particular frustrated the Wizards bowlers, not only holding them out but also seemingly scoring at will.
The veteran bowler provided an entertaining display for viewers, crunching 12 fours and two sixes in his 77 ball knock. His innings allowed Franklin time to notch up his 16th First-Class ton.
The 33-year-old oozed composure throughout his stay in the middle, showing immense fight in the face of a fired-up Wizards attack. After a patient 186 balls he finally brought up the triple figures.
While adding his already sparkling First-Class record, it more importantly gave his side hope when a loss seemed imminent.
He may well be the key on day four to the Firebirds survival.
Day two: Canterbury Wizards 471-8dec (Tom Latham 241*, Henry Nichols 70, Shannon Stewart 60, Andy McKay 4-97), Wellington Firebirds 167-7 (James Franklin 53*, Hamish Bennett 3-56)
Tom Latham continued his push for a recall to the BLACKCAPS Test squad on day two of the Canterbury Wizard’s Plunket Shield match against the Wellington Firebirds, making an unbeaten 241.
The colossal knock came off 423 balls and elevated the Wizards to a first-innings total of 473 for eight declared. In response the Firebirds top-order capitulated to be 167 for seven and still 304 runs behind.
James Franklin was the only Firebirds player to be able to get going, making an unbeaten 53 while his team mates fell around him. Jeetan Patel chipped in with 46, but fell just before the end of play, stopping whatever momentum the Firebirds had begun to build.
Hamish Bennett was once again in fine form with the ball, taking three wickets in his 13 overs for 56. Logan van Beek also played an important role, taking two wickets, including the scalp of Michael Papps.
Wellington will have their work cut out for them to avoid the follow on.
Earlier, it had been the Latham show. The 22 year-old was near on unstoppable enroute to his maiden First-Class double century, bringing up the milestone after eight hours and 36 minutes at the crease.
It was not only his career highest score, but the highest individual total by anyone on Karori Park.
Day one: Canterbury Wizards 292-5 (Tom Latham 137*, Henry Nichols 70, Shannon Stewart 60, Andy McKay 3-79).
Tom Latham responded to being left out of the BLACKCAPS one-day squad with a patient, unbeaten 137 from 276 balls. Opening the innings, he batted from start to finish to take the Canterbury Wizards to a strong position at the end of day one at Karori Park.
After the Firebirds accounted for Rob Nicol, who chipped an easy catch to mid on, and Dean Brownlie, caught in the slips early, Latham batted with first Henry Nichols (137 partnership) then Shannon Stewart (133 partnership) to pile on the runs. All three men were prepared to bat patiently and occupy the crease, with Latham taking 185 balls for his third first-class century.
Nichols was removed edging to the slips, before Stewart picked up where he left off, supporting Latham to take the Wizards through to 290 before being caught lbw by Andy McKay. Brad Cachopa went a ball later, caught by Pollard behind square to McKay's delight in the last act of the day.
Andy McKay was the pick of the Firebirds bowlers with 3-79, taking care of Brownlie, Stewart and Brad Cachopa to draw the day to a close.
The Firebirds will be keen to continue the run of wickets in the morning, and stop the Wizards building an even more formidable total after a tough day in the field.