Day four: Canterbury Wizards, 280 (Latham 93, Astle 52, Craig 5-56) and 298 (Nicol 95, Latham 52, Wells 5-74, Craig 3-55) lost to Otago Volts, 200 all out (de Boorder 85, Henry 5-67) and 381-3 (Rutherford 96, Bracewell 65, Broom 89*, Wells 100*) by 7 wickets.
Making hay while dark clouds loomed, a positive approach from the Volts’ overnight batsmen took their side to within 38 runs of victory in the morning session, for no further loss, before drizzle forced them from the field.
Neil Broom (85*) and Sam Wells (77*) had stormed to a 145-run partnership, having just plucked four boundaries from a single Ryan McCone over, and taken 12 runs from Matt Henry the over prior, before settling in for a frustrating few hours of fidgety radar-watching in the University Oval changing rooms.
The Wizards’ faint hope of a reprieve was dashed shortly after 4pm, Wells relaunching proceedings with yet another cracking boundary. The resumption spanned a mere three overs as the pair brought home a resounding victory over their table-topping neighbours. Wells’s final boundary for the winning runs also raised an unbeaten century, his third in first-class cricket.
Day three: Canterbury Wizards, 280 and 298 (Nicol 95, Latham 52, Wells 5-74, Craig 3-55) lead Otago Volts, 200 all out and 245-3 (Rutherford 96, Bracewell 65, Broom 48*) by 133 runs.
The Volts made quick inroads into their outright chase of 379, led by a bustling 126-run second wicket stand between Hamish Rutherford and Michael Bracewell. By stumps the equation had been whittled to just 134 from the last day, with a cushy seven wickets in hand. All eyes turned to Dunedin’s latest Metservice intelligence, with forecast rain making for a nervous sleep.
Rutherford was back to his aggressive best, coming within an inch of his seventh first-class century at run-a-ball pace. Sixty-eight of his tally had come in boundaries - he posted his fifty with one of two sixes. But the opener was undone lofting at Todd Astle, the leg-spinner delighted in cupping a caught & bowled after tea to send Rutherford on his way just one boundary shy of three figures.
Bracewell soldiered on to post his half-century before being bowled by Andrew Ellis after drinks, while Neil Broom ended the day poised for one of his own - weather permitting - in an unbeaten 49-run fourth-wicket stand with Wells.
In the morning session, the Wizards extended their overnight lead by 118 runs before being bowled out right on the lunch bell. Anchor Rob Nicol was the last to fall with a patient 95, ruing a missed century as he joined the catalogue of batsmen dismissed by the medium to slow contingent. Medium-pacer Sam Wells enjoyed the best of the spoils for the hosts, picking up his third first-class five-for. He was supported by spinner Mark Craig, who finished with his career-best match analysis of 8-111.
Day two: Canterbury Wizards 280 and 180-6 (Tom Latham 52, Rob Nicol 42*, Sam Wells 3-36) lead the Otago Volts 200 all out (Derek de Boorder 85, Matt Henry 5-67) by 260 runs.
The Canterbury Wizards will look to set the Otago Volts a big total on day three in Dunedin after Matt Henry took five wickets to keep the hosts to 200 runs in their innings.
Matt Henry cleaned up the Volts top order including Neil Broom Aaron Redmond and Michael Bracewell to rob the innings of any momentum. Skipper Derek de Boorder counter attacked with a rapid 85, but the only support came from Mark Craig, who chipped in with 36. Henry finished with 5-67, while Ryan McCone ended with 2-61 and Logan van Beek 2-32.
In reply, Tom Latham made his second half century of the match before being stumped by de Boorder from Mark Craig, while Rob Nicol showed great patience over his unbeaten 42 from 179 balls. He was still there at stumps after Andy Ellis was dismissed to end the day.
As Plunket Shield cricket resumed, the Otago Volts dismissed the Canterbury Wizards for 280, with Tom Latham (93) and Todd Astle (52) making the most impact for the visitors. Mark Craig took a five-wicket bag for Otago, who lost two wickets late in the day to leave them trailing by 233 runs with eight wickets in hand.
The Volts gave a First Class debut to Brad Rodden in this match, and won the toss and put the visitor in on a blustery day in Dunedin. James McMillan was the first to strike, bowling Peter Fulton for 18. His opening partner Tom Latham was looking in good touch and put together a partnership with Dean Brownlie (34) before being bowled by Mark Craig seven short of his century.
Craig was the destroyer though the middle order, taking care of Brownlie, Rob Nicol, Brad Cachopa and Tood Astle, who contributed a useful 52. After Neil Wagner and Sam Wells cleaned up the tail the Volts had 11 overs to bat. Aaron Redmond was in fine touch before he was bowled by Matt Henry for 28 from 25, with famish Rutherford the other man to lose his wicket before stumps for 4.