OTAGO VOLTS v NORTHERN DISTRICTS
At University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
8-11 November 2019
TOSS: ND who elected to bat
RESULT: Draw. Total points this round: Volts 7, ND 4
Bonus points (completed): ND 1 batting; Volts 4 bowling, Volts 3 batting, ND 3 bowling
Jacob Duffy was an early wicket as play finally resumed on the final day of red-ball Plunket Shield this year - but not before the third batting bonus was in the bank.
Fellow overnight batsman Michael Rippon carried on his career-best innings, having begun again on 74* and with Matt Bacon now accompanying him forward, the Volts 310 for eight.
He had reached 98*, almost in reach of a maiden first-class ton, when a diving grab from keeper BJ Watling ended Rippon's watch after 4.7 hours, spread over three days
It simultaneously gave Neil Wagner his second five-wicket bag in the space of two innings, off the back off ND's previous game at the Mount.
Heartbreaking end to 4.7 hours at the crease spread over 3 days in challenging conditions on a career best 98* for Michael Rippon. BJ watling with the grab, Neil Wagner 's 5th & he went on to 6fa in his 2nd bag in the space of 2 innings #PlunketShield #thishurts pic.twitter.com/224FV03O4h— #NZIII (@MargotButcher) November 10, 2019
Bacon departed in Wagner's following over to give the firebrand paceman six for 114, the Volts' account closed at 349 for a first-innings lead to the hosts of 106.
Rain returned early in the ND second dig, ushering in the lunch interval. Umpires were kept busy with more rain and more inspections until finally play restarted.
Soon after the eventual resumption, however, ND captain Daniel Flynn became the first casualty, caught behind cheaply off Rippon to end his contribution with the bat in his 100th cap match, ND still in arrears.
It was the beginning of a career-best performance with both bat and ball in the same match for Rippon, who carved up the meat of the ND line-up with 5-33 off his 27 overs.
The Volts had ND six down for just 61 before time ran out on the match, fellow spinner Dean Foxcroft having claimed the only other wicket to fall - that of first-innings centurion Henry Cooper who had the top score of 22.
Michael Rippon (98 and 9 wickets for Otago) came very close to joining Warwick Armstrong, Jack Crawford, Frank Woolley & Dipak Patel as the only players to score a century and take 10 wickets in the same first-class game in NZ #plunketshield— Francis Payne (@FPayne100) November 11, 2019
With ND still two runs in arrears as the bails were lifted, another couple of wickets would have had the Volts fizzing at the possibility of closing out a rare Plunket Shield win.
With a ring field and the skipper pouching catches like this, they would have fancied their chances.
As it turned out, they had plenty of positives to take away from key individual performances that lifted them off the bottom of the table, overtaking their visitors by one point.
The Plunket Shield now takes a break until late February, when the final five rounds of the eight-round competition will resume.
Competition Winner: Wellington Firebirds
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A southerly change and wet weather meant no play was possible on the third day in Dunedin.
Maiden centurion Nathan Smith and Michael Rippon each produced impressive career-bests with the bat, combining to break Otago's long-standing seventh-wicket record against all teams in the last session, in testing conditions.
Earlier, having resumed at 29/2, Dean Foxcroft and Anaru Kitchen were tasked with taking the Volts' score forward on a fine second morning in Dunedin - until ND spinner Joe Walker struck before lunch.
Foxcroft trapped on 29, it was a first bowling point in the bag for ND, and ushered in Nick Kelly against his old team. Wagner (4-93 and also playing against his old team) soon had his fourth in Kelly, however, while Walker added the wicket of Mitch Renwick to have the Volts in a predicament at 107 for six.
Enter Smith and Rippon, pouring on the big seventh-wicket stand of 190 runs to ensure the Volts could haul in the first-innings deficit.
They picked up their side's first batting bonus en route, and nearly had three of those in the bank by the time Smith was finally dismissed going for the third - off the last ball at the end of the day's play, when he was on 114.
Their riveting partnership had grown to almost 170 by the time Smith drove a boundary off Jimmy Baker to post his three figures off 174 balls (13 x 4), Rippon then on 69*.
A maiden first-class 💯 for Nathan Smith! A big partnership here with Michael Rippon (69*) and we lead by 35 runs.— Otago Cricket (@OtagoVolts) November 9, 2019
Volts 278/6 | LIVE SCORINGâž¡ï¸https://t.co/91ffbqh8vy#cricketnation #OurOtago pic.twitter.com/ucqlrbrrco
It was a maiden first-class century for the useful young allrounder, eclipsing the unbeaten 75* he had scored last season. He had toiled more than four hours at the crease before, ironically, yesterday's centurion Henry Cooper turned golden arm and claimed his wicket, the occasional spinner having Smith caught by Brownlie in the deep.
Rippon remained on 74* overnight, the pair having knocked off the Otago seventh-wicket record against all teams, the previous mark of 182 having been set way back in 1952/53 by the legendary Bert Sutcliffe and Alan Gilbertson, at Lancaster Park - a stand that had been dominated by Sutcliffe who famously blazed his first-class career best of 385.
The Volts lead by 54 with three wickets in hand, captain Jacob Duffy to begin his innings tomorrow (weather permitting) looking for the third batting bonus point - while Cooper's golden arm secured a third bowling point for ND with just two balls left before the 110-over cut-off mark.
Stumps: Volts 29/2, earlier: ND 243 all out
A fairy story was ruined in Dunedin when the wrong opening batsman got the runs.
Not to take anything away from Henry Cooper whose third first-class century was his highest first-class score, and sorely needed by his teammates on the first day.
It's just that the young Cooper was playing his 22nd first-class match, and ND captain and opening partner Daniel Flynn, well, his 100th for his team, just the 20th in a select club of NZ domestic cricketers to achieved that milestone for one team.
ND legend, bowling coach and fellow member of the 💯club, Graeme Aldridge, presents Daniel Flynn with his 100th first-class appearane cap 👏🙌#ndtogether #100Club #PlunketShield #cricketnation pic.twitter.com/wc2sAKGt5M— Northern Districts (@ndcricket) November 8, 2019
Flynn easily holds the ND record for most first-class centuries in a career but it wasn't to be today with the veteran left-hander run out for 20 in freakish fashion by his opposing skipper, in just the 13th over.
Cooper then watched in reasonable dismay as everyone else in the ND order came and went, until he was the last man out - after having batted all 332 minutes of the ND innings.
Whilst he struggled for support, he didn't struggle for runs - blasting 16 boundaries and six sixes in his audacious 149 after having been dropped on zero.
TEA - 183/6 | This 6âƒ£ from Cooper to bring up his ton the shot of the session.— Northern Districts (@ndcricket) November 8, 2019
Some work to do for us, but Cooper is still battling on 109* and Brett Randell looking composed on 11*.
Video scorecard | https://t.co/SwDDubZaqF#ndtogether #PlunketShield #cricketnation pic.twitter.com/WFpdijB3Vq
With time running out, he was going for another lavish whack off Michael Rippon when, instead of reaching 150 for the first time in his career, he fell caught on 149, which moreover denied the visitors a second batting bonus, just seven runs away.
Rippon had spun his way to 4-60 while "Razor" Michael Rae had sliced through the lower order for 3-50, the Volts 29 for two in reply at stumps with Neil Wagner having picked up both openers cheaply.
STUMPS - 29/2 | Two wickets to Neil Wagner, including this dismissal of Hamish Rutherford, have made some early inroads into the @OtagoVolts batting line-up.— Northern Districts (@ndcricket) November 8, 2019
A day that belongs to Henry Cooper👏
Video scorecard | https://t.co/SwDDubZaqF#ndtogether #PlunketShield #cricketnation pic.twitter.com/jZrEKewu9m