Cricket: Auckland eases past Canterbury

Auckland haven't had much to cheer about this season, but they're off to a solid start in the last of the three domestic competitions.

Chasing Canterbury's 269 for nine in Christchurch today, Auckland eased past the target, reaching 270 for five, with two overs to spare in their opening Ford Trophy game.

Beaten semifinalists in the HRV Cup, Auckland failed to show in the Plunket Shield, finishing a distant last.

At least they're off and running in the 50-over form, in large part down to a maiden century, 121 off 101 balls, by Craig Cachopa.

Cachopa had a strong Plunket Shield, with 795 runs at 49.6 and he's carried that into the shorter game to strong effect.

"I can't complain. It's been a good day today, and more importantly it's Auckland's first win in a while so it was nice to get that for the boys," he said tonight.

Earlier recalled test opener Peter Fulton struck 74 and former international Rob Nicol 68 for Canterbury at the redeveloped Hagley Oval.

Left armer Michael Bates took four for 45 to go with three catches, while ODI seamer Kyle Mills and young Matt Quinn shared five wickets.

Otago made their second highest 50-over total, 349 for seven on the Basin Reserve. Aaron Redmond carried on his Plunket Shield-plundering form with 114 off just 84 balls.

However, another senior citizen of the opening batsmen's union, Michael Papps, topped Redmond with an unbeaten 162 off 138 balls - his 10th ton in this form - to steer Wellington to a memorable six-wicket win.

Wellington's 352 for four is the province's highest one-day total, while the 273-run second wicket stand between Papps and Stephen Murdoch (136 off 123 balls) is a record for any wicket in New Zealand 50-over history, eclipsing Stephen Fleming and Roger Twose's unbroken 244 in the 2000-01 season.

Michael Mason's heroics in his final game for Central Districts last season were a distant memory as the defending trophy champions were soundly beaten by Northern Districts in Nelson.

ND's 322 for seven was well beyond the hosts, who didn't recover from 32 for four and were dismissed for 238. Test bowler Trent Boult' best limited-overs figures, four for 38 followed James Marshall and Daryl Mitchell, with 93 and 95 respectively, putting on a fourth wicket record 155.

In Thursday's second round games, ND host Auckland in Hamilton, Wellington play CD in the capital and Canterbury face Otago in Christchurch.