After a ground delay the Seddon Park contest finally resumed on a muggy Thursday afternoon, and it didn't take long for the Central Stags to make further progress with the pink ball.
A baffling mix-up between Tim Seifert and Scott Kuggeleijn saw the latter run out off Seth Rance's bowling for just one run, then Rance himself swung in to claim his sixth wicket in the shape of Seifert caught behind, helped by a diving Dane Cleaver behind the stumps.
That left the hosts 106 for nine and still trailing by 168, the pressure on the last, thankfully competent pair of Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Baker.
Sodhi broke free and hit Blair Tickner for consecutive boundaries but the players once again left the field a few balls later at 119 for nine, Sodhi on 16* after the evidently still damp outfield was declared unsafe.
No further play ensued and the match was declared a draw, a particularly frustrating result for the still winless Stags.
Rance's 6-31 was his second six-wicket bag in first-class cricket and a new career best.
With just three rounds remaining, the Stags now head home to Napier's McLean Park where they will host the Wellington Firebirds from Tuesday while ND are away to the Auckland Aces at Eden Park Outer Oval. Entry to all Plunket Shield four-day matches is free.
Play has been abandoned for the day due to wet weather. Day four will start at the earlier time of 1.30pm weather permitting.
As stormy weather brewed, play continued at Seddon Park only on day two of the first round of day/night Plunket Shield cricket — long enough for Seth Rance to claim his second first-class five-wicket bag, and for the Central Stags to have Northern Districts in serious strife at 89 for seven at the close of the first session.
ND was still trailing by 185 runs at the ‘tea’ break, just three wickets in hand when the steady rain arrived. Weather had already washed out play at Eden Park for the day and the Stags had dominated the full session in Hamilton, Blair Tickner having just removed the chief remaining obstacle of Corey Anderson and off-spinner Ajaz Patel having earlier bowled Daryl Mitchell on just five with his third ball in day/night pink ball cricket.
Rance had meanwhile accounted for all five of the first five wickets, adding Nick Kelly caught behind on 17 to his overnight four-fa for the full bag: 5-21 off his 12 overs with three maidens included.
First-time captain Anderson’s 29 was the top score of the meagre innings, and he had lasted almost three hours against a fired-up winless Stags unit that must be getting fairly sick of weather interrupting every time they get on a roll this season.
Tim Seifert will recommence on 20 should the rain dry up over the ensuing days and had just been joined by Scott Kuggelelijn at the crease in his 50th first-class match.
Entry to the Plunket Shield four-dayer at Seddon Park is free day and night. Weather permitting, play will start at 1:30pm on day three to make up time.
Pink ball cricket at Seddon Park proved no problem in the wicket-taking department for Ish Sodhi as the BLACKCAPS leg-spinner powered to his second first-class seven-for for Northern Districts.
And, remarkably, it all came after the Central Stags had won the toss and themselves powered through the opening afternoon session without losing a wicket.
Thirteen wickets in all fell on day one, Stags captain Will Young making a canny evening declaration at 274 at nine to give his strike weapons Adam Milne, Seth Rance and change Navin Patel a crack with the swinging pink ball under lights late in the last session.
It paid near instant rewards, Adam Milne opening the attack before Rance swung through for a wicket with his very first delivery in night-time Plunket Shield cricket, trapping Joe Carter for a golden duck.
By stumps, Rance would have a superb quick haul of four for six, including two maidens off his six overs. ND would be 28 for four, 244 runs behind while having lost three batsmen for no score, including nightwatchman Joe Walker.
They were fortunate not to be in an even bigger pickle after a vociferous shout from Navin Patel against Corey Anderson was turned down. Dean Brownlie recuperating from a fielding collision for the BLACKCAPS, Anderson was captaining ND for the first time, surviving on six not out at stumps.
To be fair, Sodhi had had the odd chance turned down as well, and the evening’s events took the gloss off a superb day from him as he bowled 30 overs on the trot.
Introduced early, he had had to work hard for the opening breakthrough as Stags opener Greg Hay made hay while the sun shone in the first session, he and Ben Smith taking the Stags through to 85 without loss at the first break and eventually reaching 90 after tea, to be in sight of what would have been his ninth first-class hundred.
Smith was Sodhi’s first victim early in the second session and the leggie would go on to tear up the first five wickets, Hay included, as the more than useful bats of Young, Tom Bruce and Dane Cleaver all produced just four runs before departing.
George Worker, at four, was more resilient and the duo engaged in a torrid battle for his wicket, Sodhi trying to draw him forward. Worker responded with his patiently acquired half century late in the middle session and ultimately 72 runs before seamer Jimmy Baker did the trick for ND, getting him caught behind: 227 for six.
Baker (above) would claim both of the remaining wickets while Sodhi scorched on, finishing just a handful of runs outside his career-best 7-102 with 7-107 from his 33 overs, toiling away day and night with the pink ball.
Play begins at 2.30pm and entry at Seddon Park is free all day (and night).