A docile Colin Maiden Park pitch produced a fifth century of the match as the Plunket Shield contest between the Auckland Aces and Central Stags ended in a high scoring draw today.
Veteran Mathew Sinclair was the latest to benefit from a compliant surface as he struck 108 not out in the Stags’ second innings effort of 367 for six declared.
The declaration, made after tea, was an academic exercise only, with both teams agreeing to shake hands before the Aces had even bothered to pad up a second time.
The match produced 1181 runs for the loss of only 26 wickets, leaving a result out of the reach of the two combatants who consoled themselves with the fact their respective batting averages benefited from the experience.
A result was a possibility this morning when the Stags resumed at 207 for one, with Peter Ingram on 139 and Sinclair on 31, leading overall by 127 runs.
Any plans formulated by the Stags to set the Aces a target went out the window when Ingram fell to the very first ball of the day from medium pacer Andrew de Boorder.
Sinclair instead looked to knuckle down as did captain Kruger van Wyk to take the Aces out of the game.
The 36-year-old Sinclair took his own sweet time as he ticked off his 33rd first-class century, and his 24th for the Stags, and once the token declaration came he had been in the middle for one minute shy of five hours and faced 259 balls.
Van Wyk spent two hours piecing together his 41 as the Aces bowlers found themselves ground down.
The Aces entrusted the bulk of the workload to their slower men, left-arm spinner Bruce Martin getting through a marathon 42 overs for his return of two for 90 while de Boorder was worked hard also, taking three for 108 off 36 overs.
Day 3: De Grandhomme in grand touch for Aces
Colin de Gradhomme enjoyed the freedom to frolic as the Auckland Aces gave him a licence to thrill during the Plunket Shield match against the Central Stags today.
He scored at a fast clip to register a career best 120 not out as the Aces posted 447 in their first innings on the third day of the fourth round fixture at Auckland’s Colin Maiden Park.
That gave the hosts a first innings advantage of 80 runs, which by the end of the day turned into an overall deficit of 127 runs as the Stags reached 207 for one by the close batting a second time.
The Stags had a centurymaker to call their own as well as the prolific Peter Ingram enjoyed the conditions to make a particularly forthright 139 not out, his 17th first-class hundred being raised off 104 balls with 15 fours and one six.
By the close he had lifted his boundary haul to 19 fours and two sixes off 153 deliveries.
His knock was a stylish riposte to an outstanding 164 from Aces opener Jeet Raval which broke the back of the Stags’ first innings of 367, and once first innings points were assured de Grandhomme had the green light to attack.
He did not need a second invitation, racing to his second century of the season from just 80 balls in 141 minutes.
By the end of the innings the allrounder had faced only 100 deliveries, striking 11 fours and five sixes as the Stags attack was put to the sword.
Earlier, Raval continued to prosper after resuming on 120 with the Aces on 240 for three.
His overnight partner Brad Cachopa did not stick around for long and failed to add to the 63 runs he banked yesterday, but Raval was unperturbed as he passed 150 for the second time in his career before being deceived by legspinner Tarun Nethula.
A former Aucklander, Nethula bowled Raval for 164, made from 436 minutes of hard graft and studded with 20 fours off 304 balls.
Nethula was the pick of the bowlers, ending with four for 85 off 31 overs while seamers Adam Milne and Carl Cachopa snared two wickets apiece.
Day 1: Aces steady after Raval ton
A maiden first-class century by Kieran Noema-Barnett was cancelled out by a top ton by Jeet Raval as the Plunket Shield match between the Central Stags and Auckland Aces continued to flatter the batsmen today.
At home at Colin Maiden Oval, the Aces worked hard on the back of Raval’s unbeaten 120 to reach 240 for stumps on the second day.
That left them 127 short of the Stags’ first innings of 367, a more than respectable tally featuring Noema-Barnett’s 107.
He resumed this morning on 78, alongside Martin Kain on 31 as the Stags looked to push on from their overnight 328 for eight.
Kain soon departed for 42 but 24-year-old Noema-Barnett had the satisfaction of raising his first first-class century in his 17th match for the Stags before becoming the last man out for 107, a knock which took 245 minutes and contained 12 fours and one six.
Tall fast bowler Michael Bates was the most successful of the Aces bowlers with four for 74 off 30.2 overs, but his Stags opposites found their work more draining as the home team worked around Raval’s fourth first-class century to zero in on first innings spoils.
Raval refused to be hurried, striking 13 fours during his stay which has so far lasted 342 minutes, and he will walk to the middle tomorrow morning with Brad Cachopa on 63, with this pair so far putting on 132 for the fourth wicket.
Day1: Day of graft in Auckland
It was a day of graft with both bat and ball as the Auckland Aces and Central Stags emerged evenly positioned from the first day of their Plunket Shield match in Auckland.
Resolute middle order resistance tipped the balance in the Stags favour as they scored 325 for eight at Colin Maiden Park.
Allrounder Kieran Noema-Barnett came to the fore with 78 not out in close to 200 minutes and captain Kruger van Wyk posted a fluent 54 as the Stags clung on after slipping to 139 for five.
These two put on 61 for sixth wicket before van Wyk’s innings ended after 101 minutes when seamer Michael Bates had him caught by Kyle Mills.
Van Wyk’s contribution contained eight fours as he endeavoured to loosen the shackles placed on the Stags, whose top order did not deliver in the face of some good bowling by the hosts.
Opener Peter Ingram, Ben Smith and Carl Cachopa all did the hard yards in making starts but none pushed on as they were dismissed for 39, 36 and 33 respectively.
Tarun Nethula later chipped in with 22 before being bowled by Bates, leaving Noema-Barnett, with nine fours and one six to his credit off 126 balls, to see out the day with Martin Kain, who contributed 31 not out.
The best of the Aces bowlers were Bates and Dean Bartlett, the former taking three for 54 off 25 overs and the relatively inexperienced latter claiming three for 81 off 18.