Marshall's ton not enough to stop Firebirds

An unbeaten 105 from captain James Marshall could not rescue State Northern Knights from a defeat by an innings and 12 runs in against State Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve.

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The win put Wellington atop the State Championship points table with 17 points from three matches, one ahead of Central, who begin their third-round match against Otago in Napier tomorrow.

In contrast, the Knights have yet to record a point and share the bottom of the table with Canterbury.

Marshall today bolstered his side's faltering top order with some well-paced and patient batting, but eventually ran out of partners, although tailender Trent Boult did well to survive eight overs and see his captain through to his 10th first-class century.

Trailing the Firebirds by 219 runs on the first innings Northern were all out for 198 despite Marshall’s patient knock.

He came to the crease with the score at 18 for two, after Northern lost Brad Wilson for one and Michael Parlane without scoring.

Cameron Merchant and Kane Williamson disappeared in quick succession soon after and they were 21 for four.

While Marshall grafted away at one end, batsmen came and went at the other.

Only Bradley Scott provided any stickability, lasting 90 balls for his 23 before he was undone four overs after Wellington took the second new ball, driving seamer Mark Gillespie to Graham Napier at point.

Gillespie returned the best figures for Wellington, picking up four for 43 off 20 overs, with Napier providing valuable back-up with two for 38 off 22.

Scott and Marshall put on 57 runs for the seventh wicket, but the lower order had little chance of achieving what the top order couldn't, and wickets continued to fall until Marshall was left undefeated.

His 105 took more than 5-1/2 hours and came off 240 balls, including 12 boundaries.

Wellington set up their commanding win by scoring 520 for seven declared in their only innings, highlighted by 160 to James Franklin and 110 to Josh Brodie.

NZPA

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