Plunket Shield match report

The Northern Districts Men were back in action this week in the Plunket Shield, this time taking on the Otago Volts in Alexandra.

Day one started well for the side as captain Joe Carter won the toss and put the hosts into bat. The decision paid off almost immediately as Brett Randell struck in the very first over.

And that would set the tone as our boys dominated the first two sessions leaving Otago at 170/6 at tea. Rain would affect the final session but didn’t stop Joe Walker from opening his tally for the season, leaving the Volts at 185/7 at stumps.

Day two was an uphill battle for the bowlers as the tail wagged to help Otago reach 342 all out, thanks to a maiden first class century from Max Chu.

Brett Randell continued his rich vein of form with his maiden first class five wicket bag, finishing with figures of 5-56.

It was then our turn to bat and our openers Jeet Raval and Henry Cooper dominated the remainder of the day.

Their partnership of 161 was finally broken when Raval was dismissed for 89. Enter the nightwatchman, Randell. He and Cooper saw out the rest of the day taking the score to 162/1.

Day three was a day to remember for our batsmen. Early on Cooper was able to cash in and bring up his sixth first class century.

Then Randell made the most of his promotion in the order and scored his second first class fifty before departing, breaking the 107-run stand.

This brought Bharat Popli to the crease. He and Cooper compiled a mammoth 179 run partnership and saw Henry Cooper become the first Northern Districts men’s player to score a double century since Dean Brownlie in 2015.

Not too long after bringing up the milestone he was trapped in front by spinner Michael Rippon. Shortly followed by Popli for 86.

Their dismissals opened the flood gates for the remaining batsmen to come out and have a hit. Quick runs from Joe Carter and Colin de Grandhomme saw the visitors post 458/7 and the of the day.

Continuing into day four, a quickfire 28 from Peter Bocock helped extend the lead to 211 runs as they were all out for 553 after Brett Hampton was unable to bat due to injury.

Randell then repeated his efforts from the first innings as he struck in the first over again.

The rest of the bowlers soon followed suit picking up wickets at regular intervals.

The Otago middle and lower order offered some resistance but ultimately it wasn’t enough to stop Northern Districts from securing a win by an innings and 74 runs.

Joe Walker led the way with four wickets and a direct hit run out. Zak Gibson also had three and Brett Randell picked another two to take his season tally to 14, the equal fourth most in the competition despite playing half as many games as the other bowlers.

The focus will now shift to white ball as next week brings the start of Ford Trophy and Dream11 Super Smash.

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