Plunket Shield: Canterbury secure first four-day title since 2017 after thumping Central Stags

First-year coach Peter Fulton has quickly transformed Canterbury into a domestic cricket powerhouse again.
Canterbury locked up the Plunket Shield four-day title with two rounds to play on Sunday, thumping the Central Stags by nine wickets inside three days at Rangiora.

After wrapping up victory, Canterbury were glued to the final match of the round with Northern Districts needing to beat Wellington to remain in Shield contention.

ND could only pick up five Wellington second innings wickets in the allotted 47 overs with the match ending in a draw, guaranteeing Canterbury their first Plunket Shield since 2017.

* Plunket Shield: Troy Johnson's maiden first-class century guides Wellington to strong position
* Plunket Shield: Sean Davey five-for puts leaders Canterbury in early control against Central
* Black Cap Tom Blundell falls to rare obstructing the field dismissal

Canterbury hold a 47 point lead with two rounds left and can't be caught by second placed ND. The maximum points available for each match is 20.

Former Black Cap Fulton has enjoyed a stellar first season in charge of his beloved red-and-blacks after taking over from Brendon Donkers.

When Fulton stepped away from his role as Black Caps' batting coach to pursue his ambition of becoming a head coach with Canterbury some were surprised by the move, but he has thrived.

Martin Hunter/Photosport
Canterbury have been the dominant Plunket Shield side this summer, not losing any of their matches.

Canterbury's Plunket Shield triumph completed a domestic men's double after also capturing the Ford Trophy one-day title earlier this month.

Sunday was a golden day for Canterbury cricket with the Magicians thumping Auckland in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield women's one-day final.

It could have been a clean sweep of titles for the Canterbury men, who lost the final of the Twenty20 Super Smash after Black Caps' run-scoring machine Devon Conway struck a majestic unbeaten 93 off 63 balls to lead Wellington to victory.

Martin Hunter/Photosport
Canterbury's Plunket Shield win over the Central Stags was built around their impressive bowling performance.

After a lean Plunket Shield campaign last season, where they finished fifth, Canterbury have been dominant in red ball cricket this summer, not losing a match.

They set the tone in October in their first match with a resounding eight wicket win over the Firebirds and apart from a draw against Otago, have won their other five outings.

Canterbury last won the Plunket Shield in 2017, Fulton's last season with the side before retiring.

Missing their Black Caps ODI quartet Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, and Matt Henry for this match, Canterbury didnt skip a beat.

A fine first innings bowling performance, where they rolled Central for 149, paved the way for Canterbury's win.

Martin Hunter/Photosport
Fraser Sheat took four wickets in the second innings for Canterbury against Central in the Plunket Shield.

Central needed to bat well in their second innings to have any chance of getting back into the match, but again struggled posting 170.

Left-arm spinner Theo van Woerkom excelled with 4-26, his best first-class figures, while impressive young quick Fraser Sheat also bagged four wickets.

Right-arm seamer Sean Davey, in just his third first-class match, finished with match figures of 7-53, backing up his first innings five-for with 2-34.

Davey is something of a late bloomer in the domestic ranks with the 27-year-old former New Zealand under-19 international taking his opportunity with Canterbury this season.

Fulton's ability to get the best out of players and instil confidence in them has been a feature of his coaching this season.

Elsewhere, ND and Wellington drew their match in Mount Maunganui with the home side enjoying the better of the last day.

ND captain Joe Carter brought up his sixth first-class ton in their second dig, notching 103 not out, while Henry Cooper (73), Brett Hampton (63 not out off 44 balls) and Scott Kuggeleijn (51) were also in the runs in their 379-5 declared.

Wellington lost five wickets in their second innings, but ND couldn't snare the final five in the 47 overs available handing Canterbury the silverware.

Otago and Auckland played out a frustrating draw in Invercargill where weather and ground delays meant just 176.1 overs were possible across the four days.

No play was possible on Sunday at Queens Park with a draw being called early in the afternoon a result that killed off Auckland's chances of remaining in Shield contention.


Plunket Shield round six:

At Mainpower Oval, Rangiora: Central 149 and 170 (Dane Cleaver 60, Greg Hay 55; Theo van Woerkom 4-26, Fraser Sheat 4-28) lost to Canterbury 281 and 39-1 by nine wickets.

At Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui: Northern Districts 246 and 379-5 decl (Joe Carter 103no, Henry Cooper 73, Brett Hampton 63no, Scott Kuggeleijn 51; Michael Bracewell 4-133) drew with Wellington 395 and 108-5 (Jakob Bhula 55)

At Queens Park, Invercargill: Auckland 351-8 decl (Robbie ODonnell 128, Glenn Phillips 92; Michael Rae 4-89) drew with Otago 259-5 (Hamish Rutherford 63, Mitch Renwick 49, Nick Kelly 43; Phillips 2-33)

Points after round six: Canterbury 98, Northern Districts 51, Auckland 50, Central 47, Otago 37, Wellington 28.


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