Cricket: Otago continue run with big win

James Fuller took career-best figures of 6-24 for Otago against Wellington today in Dunedin.
James Fuller took career-best figures of 6-24 for Otago against Wellington today in Dunedin.
Otago cricket's golden summer continued in Dunedin today when the Volts thrashed Wellington by an innings and 240 inside three days of their Plunket Shield encounter.

The massive victory comes quickly on the heels of their triumph over the same opposition in last weekend's final in the HRV Cup - their 10th consecutive win in the Twenty20 competition - which qualified them for the lucrative Champions League.

Otago showed they could make the switch to the longer format with ease and their first innings total of 651 for nine declared was their highest in first class cricket, passing the 624 they recorded against Central Districts in 2006/07.

It left Wellington needing 397 to make Otago bat again and they didn't come close as they were rolled for just 157 in 48.5 overs. James Fuller did most of the damage, snaring career-best figures of 6-24.

Only wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi (49) and Stephen Murdoch (40) provided any resistance and Otago's win saw them jump to the top of the Plunket Shield table with 77 points from seven games.

Central Districts (74 points) will tomorrow have the chance to overtake Otago in their match with Canterbury in Napier, with the Wizards chasing 332 to win on the final day.

Kieran Noema-Barnett top-scored with 90 in the Stags' second innings of 320 today but most interest was in Ross Taylor, who is playing his first match since taking a break after his dumping as New Zealand captain. Taylor made 52 in his second innings, after scoring just four in his first turn at bat, before being bowled by Andrew Ellis.

Canterbury were 88-1 in their chase at stumps, with Peter Fulton (50 not out) and Shanan Stewart (6 not out) at the crease, still needing 244 runs to win with nine wickets in hand.

Elsewhere, Northern Districts also wrapped up their match against Auckland in Hamilton inside three days, winning by an innings and 90 runs.

ND declared on 614-7 after starting the day at 530-5 and Auckland could muster only 284-9 in their second innings, with Dean Bartlett unable to bat. His injury meant Chris Martin was bestowed the rare honour of being elevated up the order to bat at No 10 before being the last man out for two.

Craig Cachopa was the mainstay for Auckland, scoring 115, while Reece Young chipped in with 49 and Gareth Hopkins made 44. Jono Boult claimed 4-37 and former international Brent Arnel chimed in with two wickets.

Auckland left-arm spinner Bruce Martin, who toured South Africa but wasn't used in the two-test series, endured a difficult match, ending with unflattering figures of 3-230 off 56 overs.


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