Otago were left to rue the bad light which forced an early finish to their drawn Plunket Shield match against Canterbury today.
The Volts were primed to secure victory late on the fourth and final day before the umpires took the teams from University Oval in Dunedin because of poor light caused by shadows on the pitch.
Otago were on 259 for five in their second innings, just nine short of their target, when the premature end arrived with 17 overs remaining.
They were always on track to achieve their goal after Hamish Rutherford struck 67 containing 11 fours off 72 balls and Craig Cumming made 58 during a first wicket stand of 116 in 24 overs.
Michael Bracewell then fronted with a run-a-ball 61 and allrounder Sam Wells blasted 30 off 14 balls, with three fours and two sixes, as Otago made light work of the assignment.
They had been left a generous target by Wizards captain Peter Fulton, who asked them to score 268 in 65 overs after declaring his team’s second innings at 265 for six.
Canterbury, who had nabbed first innings points by a mere two runs, had resumed this morning at 119 for three and prospered through the contributions of Tom Latham and Dean Brownlie.
Left-hander Latham took guard on his overnight 38 alongside Brownlie on eight and these two got a crack on early, particularly Brownlie.
Their partnership realised 82 runs before Brownlie was dismissed for 51, featuring six fours and two sixes off 83 balls, while Latham later fell for 70 scored in just under four hours.
Reece Young then chipped in with a quick 33 and Andrew Ellis made 20 not out before Fulton pulled the pin.
Day three: Canterbury on top
Canterbury have fought back tenaciously to narrowly claim first innings points against Plunket Shield rivals Otago.
The Wizards dismissed the Volts for 197 in their first innings on the third day at Dunedin’s University Oval to pocket the points by just two runs.
By the close forced early by bad light the visitors had progressed to 119 for three in their second innings with one day remaining of the contest.
Canterbury will tomorrow look to Tom Latham, on 38, and Dean Brownlie, on eight, to advance their cause after Shanan Stewart fell leg before wicket for 47 late today.
Earlier, replying to Canterbury’s first innings of 199 Otago started this morning at 68 for two but quickly lost opener Hamish Rutherford, who added just four runs to his overnight score of 29 before being bowled by fast bowler Willie Lonsdale.
Allrounder Sam Wells was the best of the batsmen with a fluent 52 containing seven fours and two sixes but he lacked support outside of wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder, who managed 32, and Neil Broom, who scored 29.
The last four wickets fell for 19 runs as Canterbury applied pressure through a bowling attack which operated efficiently as a unit.
With the pitch still offering encouragement Lonsdale was the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 58 off 20 over while left-arm seamer Ed Nuttall took two for 42 off 12 on debut and legspinner Todd Astle finished with two for 35.
Day two: Young saves Canterbury blushes
Reece Young was all that stood between Canterbury and potentially red faces when the Plunket Shield match against Otago continued in Dunedin today.
The Wizards struggled through to 199 in their first innings at University Oval, with wicketkeeper Young standing out like a beacon by contributing an invaluable 103 not out in just under four hours.
By stumps on the second day the Volts responded by reaching 68 for two before bad light forced an early close, with Hamish Rutherford set to resume tomorrow on 29 alongside Neil Broom on six.
After losing much of the first day due to rain Canterbury resumed this morning on 36 for two and while overnight batsman Tom Latham managed 23, no one got going aside from Young who did his best to hold things together.
Canterbury were up against its at 43 for four then 85 for five but Young asserted himself in difficult circumstances, hitting 12 fours and one six off163 balls for his eighth first-class century.
The 32-year-old was helped to three figures by tailender Willie Lonsdale, who stuck around for 39 minutes without contributing a run to a last wicket stand of 26 during which Young reached his milestone by swatting Ian Butler to the fence at mid wicket.
He alone looked capable of combatting an Otago fast bowling attack which fully appreciated the seaming conditions and occasional variation in bounce, with James McMillan and Butler particularly thriving on their work.
McMillan was the most successful in taking four for 51 off 17 overs while Butler had figures of three for 53 and left-armer Neil Wagner two for 53.
Day one: Rain rules in Dunedin
Rain kept the action to a minimum in the Plunket Shield match between Otago and Canterbury in Dunedin.
Only 13.2 overs were possible at University Oval as the Wizards reached 36 for two after being invited to bat first.
The Volts achieved early breakthroughs from fast bowlers James McMillan and Ian Butler, with openers Peter Fulton and George Worker departing for 10 and 1 respectively.
Set to resume tomorrow are Shanan Stewart on 19 and Tom Latham, who has yet to get off the mark.