The final two days of competition in the National Under-19 cricket tournament just got a whole lot more interesting after previously unbeaten competition leaders Canterbury went down to Central Districts in a dramatic last-ball finish.
Going into today’s fifth round at Lincoln, Christchurch, the Canterbury side had a 13-point lead over nearest rivals Auckland. Despite today’s loss they still have an eight point margin and are guaranteed a spot in Sunday’s final – but the competition for the other final place will be tight, with just five points separating the next three teams.
Today’s competition, played in sweltering conditions, saw Central Districts, Wellington and Auckland all taking bonus point wins.
Central Districts v Canterbury
In a thrilling last ball finish on the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, CD won the toss and batted first. Opener Dean Robinson scored 51 off 71 balls, Andy Dodd made 51 off 80 balls and Ethan Bolstad top scored with 69 not out off 58 balls including five 4s and three 6s. At the end of 50 overs CD had reached 230/7.
In an exciting run chase Canterbury needed 14 off the last over. Number 11 Tim Johnson hit a 6 off the first ball and got to the position of needing 3 off the last ball. They only managed a single and lost by 1 run. Earlier in the innings Bill Walsh scored 57 off 105 balls and here were useful middle order contributions from Bartholomeusz, Matt Laffey, Logan Van Beek and Josh Reeves. Left arm spinner Andy Dodd took 3/41 off his 10 overs. Declan McKeefry took 2/21.
• Central Districts 230/7(Dean Robinson 51, Andy Dodd 51, Ethan Bolstad 69*, Matt Farrant 3/37) beat Canterbury 229/9 (Bill Walsh 57, Liam Bartholomeusz 39, Andy Dodd 3/41) by 1 run.
Otago v Wellington
Michael Bracewell was out first ball in the match between Otago and Wellington on Lincoln No. 3 ground. Jesse Simpson top scored with 51 off 98 balls, while James Fuller scored 33 off 60 balls batting at seven. Otago was all out for 144 in 44 overs. Ili Tugaga took 3/17 off 7 overs and Harry Boam took 3/21 off 8 overs.
In reply Wellington cruised to victory in 32.3 overs with unbeaten half centuries to Jordan Hindley and Harry Boam.
• Otago 144 (Jesse Simpson 51, James Fuller 33, Ili Tugaga 3/17, Harry Boam 3/21) lost to Wellington 145/2 (Jordan Hindley 59*, Harry Boam 51*) by 8 wickets
Auckland v Northern Districts
Auckland batted first in the match against neighbours ND, putting on 60 for the first wicket with Josh Tasman-Jones top scoring with 72 off 121 balls. There were useful contributions from Jonathon Bassett-Graham, Kirk Bunting and Jimmy Neesham. Ashwyn Herwels took 3/54 off 10 overs and Andrew Mathieson, Anurag Verma and Jono Hickey each took two wickets.
Chasing 250 to win ND were led by 94 off 107 balls from opener Steve Martin but they lost wickets regularly and Auckland bowled them out in 43.4 overs for 186. Brad Schmulian took 4/25 off 9.4 overs and James Coughlan took 2/35 off 10 overs.
• Auckland 249 (Josh Tasman-Jones 72, Ashwyn Herwels 3/54) beat Northern Districts 186 (Steve Martin 94, Brad Schmulian 4/25) by 63 runs
Tomorrow, Friday, is a rest day. Round Six is played on Saturday, with the results determining who will face Canterbury in Sunday’s final.