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Fiery start to Plunket Shield summer

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand's first-class cricket championship has entered its 107th summer with action-packed starts and key personal milestones chalked up at all three matches around the country today.

With BLACKCAPS available for all matches this round, Northern Districts has taken an all-star line-up into their away clash with Canterbury. Every member of ND's playing XI has represented his country - and this with Colin de Grandhomme forced to skip proceedings with a virus.

After Canterbury captain Cole McConchie opted to bat against the all-star attack at Hagley Oval, Trent Boult claimed the first wicket of the Domestic season by trapping fellow BLACKCAP Tom Latham on 20, for Boult's 100th first-class career wicket for ND.

Boult would end the day with 3-62 after having added Henry Nicholls and a scoreless Matt Henry to his haul.

However, the hosts had been made big strides in the interim with ND forced to toil through much of the afternoon. Nicholls (103, the first century of summer and the 10th of his career) and McConchie (107) both posted centuries in a new Canterbury record for the fourth-wicket. Their partnership broke a mark of 181 that been set by Vaughn Brown and Tom's father Rod Latham at Gisborne in 1986/87 - by just one run.

It was Neil Wagner (2-118) who prised them apart at 232 for four early in the third session, with a further four wickets falling before stumps while the handy Daryl Mitchell chipped out 2-14 off his 12 overs.

Canterbury's player of the year last season Cameron Fletcher marked his 50th first-class game by bringing up his 2000th first-class run in the final session, and remains unbeaten on 12 not out.

He will resume with number 10 Will Williams on seven not out, Canterbury 327 for eight at stumps.

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After a weather-delayed toss at the Basin Reserve, Firebirds captain Michael Bracewell had no hesitation in asking the Volts to bat, the southerners bracing for a seam-heavy attack and barrage of short deliveries in what's becoming a traditional early season wicketfest.

By stumps, the Firebirds were already taking their turn at bat and in sight of their first 100 runs going up on the fanous scoreboard, having bundled out the Volts for 199 - just a single shy of registering what would have been the Volts' first batting bonus point.

Fourth change Logan van Beek netted the best figures of the day with 4-43 after Hamish Bennett, Ollie Newton and young quick Ben Sears put the early heat on.

Four down by lunch, the Volts were all out by tea with Mitch Renwick (42) looking promising for an hour and a half and reaching the top score of 42 before being undone by a sharp Rachin Ravindra grab, off a rising van Beek delivery.

Four Volts were making their debut for the side, but none likely enjoyed the occasion with Dale Phillips (first-class debut) making an early exit, Dean Foxcroft bounced out on 18, Nick Kelly gutsing it out for 102 minutes for his 37 and Travis Muller providing a late burl of 16 before being yorked by a spinner one short of a precious point.

Volts captain Jacob Duffy struck back before stumps with the wicket of opener Fraser Colson, but at 94/1, and with Rachin Ravindra unbeaten on 45, the Firebirds will head into day two in a useful position.

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Blair Tickner's 100th first-class wicket was just the start of his good afternoon at Eden Park. Tickner walked off the park with 3-46 - including the key wicket of a patient Martin Guptill, all three of his victims caught behind on a stop-startish, blustery first day in Auckland.

By the time a heavy shower interrupted the final session and brought a premature finish, the injury-hit defending champions had the hosts 185 for seven.

Guptill and first drop Glenn Phillips had steadied the ship for the Auckland Aces after Seth Rance (2-35) made the opening breakthrough bowling BLACKCAP Jeet Raval in just the seventh over.

The contrasting pair put on 82 for the second wicket with Phillips getting off the mark with a six over deep square first ball. It set the tone for an aggressive half century with some powerful strokes (51 off 79, 8x4, 1x6) before Rance struck again after lunch.

Guptill would lose another two partners in the following handful of overs, Tickner zeroing in on Mark Chapman for his 100th wicket before adding Sean Solia, both edging behind.

Guptill was looking serenely ominous, however, until another diving catch from the keeper ended his occupation on 69, after more than four hours at the crease.

Willem Ludick and spinner Ajaz Patel added a further wicket apiece while left-armer Ben Wheeler bowled well for no reward, the Aces to begin day two at 185 for seven, with two men new at the crease including Kyle Jamieson (ex-Canterbury) on Aces debut.

Former BLACKCAPS batting coach Craig McMillan has joined the Central Stags as assistant coach for the first three rounds of Plunket Shield these season. Entry to all Plunket Shield cricket is free admission.

Round One | Day One

Monday 21 October

At Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland

AUCKLAND ACES v CENTRAL STAGS

TOSS: Central Stags who elected to bowl

Close of play: Auckland Aces 185/7 first innings

Bonus points (in progress): Stags 3, Aces 0

Scorecard: https://scoring.nzc.nz/livescoring/match13b81b0e-9675-4031-98de-67bb65b7da2a/scorecard.aspx

At the Basin Reserve, Wellington

WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS v OTAGO VOLTS

TOSS: Wellington Firebirds who elected to bowl

Close of play: Otago Volts 199 all out (63.2 overs); Wellington Firebirds 94/1 first innings

Bonus points (in progress): Firebirds 4, Volts 0

Scores: https://scoring.nzc.nz/livescoring/match603f9495-da7b-47a9-88a7-e4599df711ef/scorecard.aspx

At Hagley Oval, Christchurch

CANTERBURY v NORTHERN DISTRICTS

TOSS: Canterbury who elected to bat

Close of play: Canterbury 327/8

Bonus points (in progress): Canterbury 3, Northern Districts 3

Scores: https://scoring.nzc.nz/livescoring/match037851eb-7747-43c2-a618-d242d3444fbd/scorecard.aspx

- NOTE: Bonus points are not added to the points table until the result of each match

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