They didn’t have it all their own way, but the Northern Knights were good enough to finish off the Wellington Firebirds on day four of their Plunket Shield encounter, beating them by five wickets.
Having resumed the day at three without loss, the Firebirds required another 145 runs for victory and did so with relative comfort as Daryl Mitchell capped off an already memorable match.
The number four made an unbeaten 54 in the second innings to raise his bat once more, having scored his maiden First-Class century in his first effort with the bat. Alongside a number of cameos it was enough to see his side home and cement their place in third.
The beginning the day saw the Knights wobble, with both Josef Yovich (1) and Daniel Flynn dismissed cheaply (4).
However defending such a small total meant that the Firebirds needed to consistently take wickets and the visitors failed to do so. Besides Mitchell’s effort, Brad Wilson (21), Corey Anderson (35) and Adam Wheater (14*) all made contributions and helped secure the points.
The Firebirds bowled well, but didn’t have the runs on the board and Mark Gillespie’s three for 44 was all in vain.
The Knights face the Central Stags in the final round, while the Firebirds take on the Otago Volts.
Knights on brink of victory
Tim Southee has returned to cricket with a spring in his step, taking nine for 149 against the Wellington Firebirds to have his Northern Knights just 145 runs away from victory with ten wickets in hand.
His five for in the Firebirds second innings helped to limit their fourth innings target to a meagre 148, after bowling the visitors out for 234.
The Firebirds innings lacked a substantial partnership and they were made to pay. Six players made starts of 20 or more, but no one managed a half-century, with Josh Brodie’s 49 the closest.
While Southee was the leading wicket taker, young spinner Ish Sodhi was also prolific with the ball, taking four for 105 from his 22 overs. He caused problem for the Firebirds throughout their innings and reaped the rewards as he claimed his second best First-Class career figures.
Earlier, the home side had produced a brilliant display with the bat to post a first-innings total of 510 and lead of 87. From top to bottom, almost every batsman contributed, but scores of 106 from Daniel Flynn and 136 from Daryl Mitchell were the most significant.
While the experienced Flynn brought up his 14th First-Class century, it was Mitchell’s first and a special moment for the 21 year-old.
Those knocks alone set the Knights up for a big total, but a number of other cameos pushed the scores higher, including an action packed 83 from 54 for Southee.
It capped off a brilliant comeback for the BLACKCAP strike bowler, who has featured heavily in his side’s likely success.
Daniel Flynn (2*) and Josef Yovich (1*) will resume tomorrow at three without loss.
Boam rescues Wellington
A maiden First-Class century for Wellington Firebird Harry Boam has seen his side to a respectable score of 412 for nine at the end of day one of their Plunket Shield match against the Northern Knights.
Being played at Cobham Oval, the Knights had got off to the perfect start thanks to couple of early wickets from the returning Tim Southee. The strike BLACKCAPS bowler had a successful comeback and finished with figures of four for 97 from 24 overs.
However, despite being reduced to 54 for three early on, the Firebirds fought back. Youngsters Boam (102) and Scott Kuggeleijn (74) led the way for their side, while Luke Woodcock returned from a nasty knock from Tim Southee to make 76.
While Southee’s return will steal the headlines, the day belonged to Boam, with the 22 year-old brining up his ton off 173 balls. It was a crucial knock for Wellington and took the sting out of a bowling attack which had their tails up early.
Southee was his usual aggressive self and forced Woodcock from the field with a painful looking blow to the elbow. It didn’t keep the all-rounder from coming back though and he was rewarded with a half century.
At the end of 95 overs the final partnership of Mark Gillespie (29*) and Ili Tugaga (4*) managed to see out the rest of the day, with the former blasting four fours and a six in the process.
It capped off a frustrating day for the Knights, who had started well but are now left to chase a total in excess of 400.