Northern Districts have won the Plunket Shield by seven points, leaving it until the final round to secure the title.
Challengers Auckland required full points against Canterbury in the last round and hoped that Northern would remain point-less against Central. Northern were soundly beaten by the Stags, but Auckland were unable to complete their task, finishing with a draw against the Wizards.
Those results left the Knights celebrating their first piece of hardware for the season. They had last won the Plunket Shield in the 2009/10 competition.
It was a deserved reward for the Knights, who had been the most consistent team throughout the competition. Their only losses came in the first and the last round and along with their four wins and four draws they picked up an unmatched 48 bonus points.
At one point in the season it looked as if Northern were going to run away with the competition, but were hampered by many members of the team being called up for national duties towards the end of the campaign.
The crucial match was in the penultimate round between Northern and Auckland. In terms of excitement it was a disappointment, with weather considerably impacting the match and causing it to end in a draw.
From there it was Northern’s Shield to lose and Auckland failed to produce the miracle required. Missing nearly half of their team to the BLACKCAPS the Knights put in a lack-lustre performance in the final round, but could be forgiven for doing so, as it soon became clear the title was theirs regardless.
Congratulations to the Northern Knights for a fantastic finish to the summer and the new piece of furniture they’ve added to their trophy cabinet.