Fast times in Whangarei

Video Highlights




Cobham Oval, Whangarei

3-6 March, 2022


Toss: ND who batted

Total points this round: Northern Districts 17, Wellington Firebirds 5

Selected Milestones

Kristian Clarke: first-class debut

Kristian Clarke: maiden first-class half century

Kristian Clarke: maiden first-class wicket (with his first delivery)

Callum McLachlan: maiden half century


The Firebirds had resumed the final innings on the final morning at 55/5, 384 runs behind, with Nathan Smith still to get off the mark.

By lunchtime at Cobham Oval, the gutsy Smith was still batting - but had lost two partners at 137/7.

Spinner Joe Walker had got one to jag back sharply, leading to Jamie Gibson departing LBW for his second wicket; then it was legspinner versus legspinner with Ish Sodhi quickly winning that battle against Peter Younghusband.

Smith was meanwhile on 45* at lunch after a dogged display, going on to reach his 50 after just over three hours in the middle encircled by ND's attacking fields.

Logan van Beek (21) gave Sodhi (3-39) his third wicket after lunch: 143/8, but the Firebirds' tail had some wag in it.

After his stand of 37 with van Beek, Smith battled on with Callum McLachlan, surviving for another 122 balls as the pair 45 for the ninth.

Keeper-batsman McLachlan again added valuable runs in the tail, this time reaching his highest first-class score - 56, his first Plunket Shield half century after his unbeaten 40* in the first dig.

But in the interim he had lost Smith, stumped off Walker on 70.

Walker went on to wrap up a big win with his final wicket, 22-year-old McLachlan, for a haul of 4-50.


As the world woke to news of Shane Warne's premature passing, the mood was sombre as four New Zealand cricket teams readied for moving day.

Northern Districts held the early advantage in Whangarei and a good combined effort in the second innings saw them declare eight down for a 438-run overall lead.

Openers Jeet Raval (38) and Henry Cooper (45) had taken their partnership to 89 before Logan van Beek broke through, and Ravindra striking again next over.

Michael Bracewell (3-107) brought himself on for a whirl and picked up a couple of cheap wickets, but ND captain Joe Carter got traction for a consolidating knock of 76.

Combined with 74 from Mitch Santner, it helped ND go on to reach 314/8 in 100 overs, at which point the declaration came.

By the end of the day, that was looking generous.

The Firebirds were 55/5 in reply after an uncomfortable 30 overs, debutant Kristian Clarke picking up his second and third wickets for the match - trapping Bracewell with a class yorker for 2-11 off his four overs for the day.

As in Auckland, Omicron and iso was impacting on the squad personnel, with Nathan Smith subbing in for Jimmy Neesham as a COVID replacement.

The Firebirds will resume on the last day still 384 runs adrift, with just five wickets in hand.


One. To. Watch.

Debutant Kristian Clarke wasted no time in showing his wares, producing an invaluable maiden half century for his side, in his first innings in first-class cricket - from nine in the order.

The flairy 20-year-old batted for more than two hours across the first two days, first with Brett Randell for support with whom he added a bright 68 runs for the ninth wicket.

Then Joe Walker came in for the last stand, and a further 41 minutes, Clarke reaching his maiden half ton off just 75 balls early in their partnership.

Growing increasingly frustrated, the Firebirds took the new ball, but Clarke still wasn't going anywhere, hitting his fourth boundary and reaching 63 not out off 94 deliveries before Walker was finally caught at slip off Logan van Beek.

ND had closed their account at 243: just shy of a second batting bonus, but by the end of the day would be batting again and holding the outright advantage in this fast-moving match.

The Firebirds were rolled for just 119 inside 46 overs in reply, a situation that could have been far worse for the capital cricketers had it not been for another wagging tail.

Randell continued his good season in his opening spell as he picked up two quick wickets, before the first innings really fell apart with the loss of three further wickets in the space of seven balls.

Kuggeleijn did some core damage in the 16th over: a double wicket maiden that had Michael Bracewell and Jakob Bhula walking back at 23/4, then a big third wicket for Randell (3-36), still in his opening spell, with Neesham shouldering arms only to watch the ball zero back in onto his bails: a golden duck.

A double change in the 21st over brought spinner Joe Walker and then Kristian Clarke into the attack, with Clarke continuing his fun debut with a wicket with his very first ball in first-class cricket.

Jamie Gibson was his maiden victim, guiding a widish delivery straight to the hands of Katene Clarke as the ND fizzed up around their young man having the time of his life.

When Walker struck with a wicket in each of his next two overs, the Firebirds were 43/8 after just 24.2 dishevelled overs.

This is the point at which a fightback began, young keeper-batsman Callum McLachlan, in just his third appearance, combining with experienced allrounder Logan van Beek.

The pair played positively in a much needed 72-run stand for the ninth, van Beek rustling up 35 while McLachlan top-scored with an unbeaten 40*.

The spinners had come on together after tea (103/8), Mitch Santner taking just three and a bit overs to wind things up with the final two wickets on an excellent afternoon for the ND attack.

The Firebirds found themselves trailing by 124 on the first innings after the scorecard stopped at 119, and that deficit had grown to 192 by stumps as their hosts cruised to 68 without loss to see out a big day for ND.


Twenty-year-old Kristian Clarke is no stranger to digging in late: he and Joey Field (who has since become a Central Stags representative in all formats) memorably broke the ICC U19 World Cup record for the ninth wicket in a brilliant quarterfinal win against the West Indies in South Africa two years ago.


Now his skill with the bat was required again in his very first innings in first-class cricket as Clarke made his debut in Whangarei for Northern Districts.

Clarke arrived at the crease with his side having just lost both Ish Sodhi and Tim Seifert in the 55th over of the day, to spinner Rachin Ravindra.

ND was 140/8, and the double loss - a fledging partnership snuffed out, was another blow after Ben Sears had taken out another two big wickets in Mitch Santner and Scott Kuggelelijn, also in the space of just three balls, in the 49th.

With his quality three-prong spin attack at a ground that can be productive for slower bowlers, ND captain Joe Carter had elected to bat first, and his side had to weather the pace storm of the first innings on a fresh, windy autumn morning - fresh enough to blow the bails off, making the Firebirds feel right at home.

It didn't start well.

Making his first Plunket Shield appearance of the summer, Jimmy Neesham grabbed a trio of top order wickets to have ND 63/3 with Northland's own Henry Cooper, Katene Clarke (shouldering arms only to play on, as Neesham found some bounce) and Jeet Raval all back in the pavilion.

Santner's breezy 40 at six had helped ND pull together some momentum after two rain-interrupted sessions on a stop-start day.

The BLACKCAP had resumed at 16* at the tea break (at 89/4) alongside Seifert after showing plenty of patience and tenacity before the break.

That double strike was huge.

So Kristian Clarke walks out at 140/8 to join Brett Randell with Jamie Gibson and Rachin Ravindra hunting the fourth bowling bonus for their side, followed up by Neesham and the balletic legspinner Peter Younghusband.

Clarke found his first boundary off Ravindra, and with Randell held the fort - finishing a turbulent day unbeaten on 36* off 50 balls, in an unbroken 48*-run stand for the ninth wicket.

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