Any hope Knights had snuffed out by weather

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 06/12/2012
Graeme Aldridge
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ
LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Graeme Aldridge became Northern Districts' all-time leading first class wicket-taker when he had George Worker snared sharply by Corey Anderson at second slip.

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The chance to defend their Plunket Shield title was effectively washed out for the Northern Knights yesterday.

The hosts saw the final day of their four-day encounter against the Canterbury Wizards at Seddon Park in Hamilton regularly interrupted by showers until stumps were eventually called mid-afternoon and the match drawn.

That left last season's champions last on the points table after four of the 10 matches and already out of the championship running, barring a miraculous string of results.

A victory over Canterbury would have given the Knights some desperately needed momentum and points, but limited play left them no chance of dismissing the Wizards, who ended at 112-2.

Canterbury began the day at 22-0 in their second innings, requiring another 403 for the outright win with the Knights seeking 10 wickets.

Only two wickets fell, however, as a revitalised Peter Fulton batted impressively and only 27.1 overs were available.

Fulton reached 68 not out, striking the ball powerfully off the back foot and looking in command defensively, to take his first-class average for the season to 72 and again remind the Black Caps selectors that he isn't a spent force.

There was enough time for Knights seamer Graeme Aldridge to become the sole holder of the Northern Districts record for most first-class wickets in the association's history, moving one past Cliff Dickeson on to 283 when he had George Worker snared sharply by Corey Anderson at second slip.

Both sides managed to accumulate just four first-innings bowling points, meaning last season's champions have just 15 points from four matches - 48 points behind table-toppers Central Districts.

First innings batting woes again plagued the Knights as they could only score 200 in admittedly difficult conditions. They responded well with the ball in Canterbury's reply and then shone with the bat in their second innings, only to no avail.

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- Waikato

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