Jamie How's recently rediscovered form with the bat continued in Napier today as the State Central Stags-State-Wellington Firebirds State Championship cricket match meandered to a draw.
Wellington, who picked up first innings points after posting 410 to Central's 296, today declared at 299 for five, leaving Central a target of 414 off a minimum of 83 overs at a run rate of 4.99 runs per over.
Central were never likely to risk chasing it as they are second on the standings, five points clear of third-placed Wellington.
An outright loss would have seen Central drop to third with two rounds remaining ahead of the final from April 6-10.
How, who cracked an unbeaten 161 for New Zealand A against their England counterparts earlier this month, backed that up with 101 not out today.
His 11th first class century included 10 fours and two sixes.
Although Central lost the early wicket of Indian test opener Murali Vijay today, trapped lbw by Michael Burns for three, How and Graham Worker buckled down until the declaration came at 174 for one once How reached his hundred.
Worker also finished the day unbeaten, crafting a patient 63 from 180 balls.
Wellington allrounder James Franklin retired on 107 overnight, departing last night to join his New Zealand teammates in Hamilton ahead of the first test against India starting on Wednesday.
His place at the crease was taken by Harry Boam, who compiled an unbeaten 49 before the declaration was made, while Dewayne Bowden had reached 27.
Day 3: Franklin century give Firebirds substantial lead
A century from State Wellington Firebirds all-rounder James Franklin has taken the game away from the Central Stags on day three of the State Championship match at McLean Park in Napier.
Franklin is 107 not out in the second innings with the Firebirds on 210 for three having amassed a 315 run lead. The century and 76 from the first innings pushes Franklin up to third on the overall State MVP batting rankings.
Earlier in the day the State Central Stags were bowled out for 296.
Indian loan player Murali Vijay was the main contributor for the Stags making 93 with captain Mathew Sinclair reaching 62.
Left-arm quick Dewayne Bowden was the best of the Firebirds attack taking four for 55 with BLACKCAP James Franklin and Indian loan player Dhawal Kulkarni picking up three apiece.
Day 2: Wellington reach 410 thanks to Nevin century
The State Wellington Firebirds made 410 in their first innings largely thanks to a fine 134 from wicketkeeper-batsman Chris Nevin.
Firebirds all-rounder James Franklin continued his good run with the bat making 74 and shared a 138 run partnership with Nevin for the sixth wicket.
Central Captain Mathew Sinclair picked up another wicket today to record figures of three for 31 with Brett Hefford and Doug Bracewell picking up two apiece.
The Stags are 156 for two in their first innings with Indian loan player Murali Vijay contributing 58 and captain Sinclair unbeaten on 57.
Day 1: Franklin and Nevin hold innings together
The State Wellington Firebirds made a reasonable start after winning the toss and electing to bat in their match against the State Central Stags at McLean Park in Napier.
They were 102 for two at the end of the first session but the loss of Neal Parlane for 59 shortly after lunch sparked a mini collapse that saw the Firebirds lose three quick wickets to be battling at 131 for five.
James Frankin and Chris Nevin then combined in an unbeaten 91 run partnership for the sixth wicket to resurrect the innings before bad light stopped play. Franklin will resume on 54 with Nevin on 36 with 222 on the board for the Firebirds.
It was Mathew Sinclair with figures of two for 16 off ten overs who was the pick of the Central bowlers.