Who comes in as a nightwatchman and scores a maiden
century in their first four-day game of the season? Otago
spinner Nick Beard - that's who.
The 23-year-old was the joint leading wicket-taker in the
twenty/20 tournament but has not been able to get a start for
his province in first-class cricket this summer.
Beard may not have even played against Auckland had seamer
Jacob Duffy been ruled fit.
But play he did and what an inspired decision it proved to
be, to promote him to No 3.
He survived the 20 minutes before stumps on day one and
resumed yesterday morning on six having done the job
Beard kept working hard yesterday and, quite unbelievably,
was undefeated at stumps and on 160, to boot.
Volts batsman Nick Beard receives applause from team-mate
Sam Wells as he leaves the field after scoring his maiden
first-class century during Otago's Plunket Shield match
against Auckland at the University Oval in Dunedin
yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
He batted beautifully in tandem with Neil Broom (103) and
the pair put on 239 to break the Otago record fourth-wicket
partnership of 235 set by Kevin Burns and Richard Hoskin
against Northern Districts during the 1987-88 season.
Otago is in a commanding position at 438 for four having
dismissed Auckland for 221.
Crucially, the Volts secured four batting bonus points while
Central Districts failed to pick up any batting bonus points
in its match with Canterbury in Rangiora.
Central's 13-point buffer at the top of table has been pruned
to just nine points and Otago is well-placed to push on and
secure the 12 points which come with an outright victory.
Beard was a key member of the Otago side which won the
twenty/20 title and now he has played an innings of note in
the Plunket Shield campaign and is likely to feature with the
ball in the last two days of the game.
He grew in confidence the longer he stayed at the crease and
played an innings any top-order batsmen would celebrate. His
wagon wheel showed he had scored his runs all round the
ground and, better still, it was a chanceless innings.
His running between the wickets was impeccable. And for a
bloke who had never scored a club hundred, he maintained his
concentration throughout, which was some feat, given he
batted the entire day.
''It is nice to influence the game,'' Beard said.
''That is sort of what keeps you motivated out there. We
thought if we can pile on runs and get a big lead and make
sure we bat once, then we can put them under pressure in the
''I guess that is what kept me out there. I wanted to stay
out there for the lads.
''I was getting a bit spent but Robbo [Iain Robertson, Otago
12th man] would come out and I'd have a banana and the
situation of the game helped keep me motivated.''
Quite often batsmen will get to a 100 and give it away with a
lapse of concentration. But, if anything, Beard just seemed
to get more determined. He batted so well, Broom's fine
innings faded into the background.
Broom brought up his 13th first-class century in emphatic
style when he creamed a drive through the covers off the
bowling of Michael Bates.
The former Black Cap has been the quiet achiever for Otago
this season. He helped put on 291-runs for the third-wicket
with Michael Bracewell in the huge win against Wellington
He also played a vital innings of 146 to help save a game for
Otago earlier in the season.
Spare a thought for Sam Wells. He was the batsman who was
padded up when Broom and Bracewell batted for so long and he
was in pads for most of yesterday while Beard and Broom
strutted their stuff. He was seven not out at stumps, a good
effort, considering how much nervous energy he probably burnt
up waiting to bat.
Barry Milburn scored a century for Otago as a nightwatchman
when he made 103 against Wellington at Molyneux Park in
After being bundled out for 252 by a Doug Bracewell-inspired
Central Districts attack, Canterbury roared back into the
match on the second day in Rangiora, APNZ reported.
The Wizards' bowlers struck early and often at the Mainpower
Oval, and it was not until Bracewell joined Keiran
Noema-Barnett that the visitor managed a partnership of any
real significance. The pair were the only men to surpass 50
and Bracewell backed up his seven for 35 with the ball by
top-scoring with 61.
Todd Astle and Ben McCord combined to take six wickets as
Canterbury restricted CD to 249 and emerged with a slim
However, the Wizards lost both openers to Andrew Lamb to
finish on 55 for two.
Peter Fulton's double failure (1 and 5) turned up the heat in
the race for New Zealand's vacant opening spot for the
upcoming test series against England.
Daniel Flynn, another main candidate to replace Brendon
McCullum when he drops down the order, showed his ability in
the position with a century on the second day of Northern
Districts' clash with Wellington in Whangarei.
Flynn made 102, his 14th first class century, as the Knights
ended the day on 344 for six, still trailing Wellington's
first innings total of 423.