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Field day for bowlers in fiery Round Four

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

First-class five-wicket bags to Hamish Bennett (Wellington Firebirds) and Andrew Hazeldine (Canterbury) were the highlights of an action-packed day on which 37 wickets fell across the country.

Left-armer Hazeldine's 5-33 against the Otago Volts in Dunedin was the 24-year-old's maiden first-class five-for, in his ninth appearance, while former BLACKCAP Bennett continued his strong form this season with his sixth first-class bag against competition leaders the Central Stags in Nelson.

The Stags were one of three sides to be bowled out on day one of Round Four as the $60,000 Plunket Shield reaches its halfway point. The defending champions, unbeaten since October 2016, were dismissed for 158 after having been sent in by Firebirds captain Michael Bracewell on a green Saxton Oval deck in fresh and overcast conditions.

Nineteen-year-old Firebirds debutant Rachin Ravindra (28-) and 36-year-old veteran Luke Woodcock (24-) put on an unbroken 54-run stand before stumps, however, Woodcock having survived a nervous moment against Blair Tickner who went up for an LBW shout in his second over.

In Dunedin, Volts captain Jacob Duffy had elected to bat under blue skies, but his side would collect only one of the four available batting bonus points: just scraping past the 200-mark before being dismissed for 206. Hazeldine had strong support from Kyle Jamieson (4-39) but the Volts struck back later in the afternoon, sending Canterbury to stumps at 98 for four.

At Eden Park Outer Oval, Danru Ferns (4-33) and Matt McEwan (3-33) did the damage against undefeated and second-placed Northern Districts before BLACKCAP Will Somerville mopped up with a brace to restrict the visitors to 134 all out.

By stumps, the Aces had already knocked off the deficit, and will resume at 142 for three, an interim first-innings lead of eight runs. Sean Solia top-scored with 71 for the hosts, but was bowled on the last delivery of the day after the opener missed a full toss from ND seamer Jimmy Baker.

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