Otago Volts' surge continues with another win

The Otago Volts juggernaut just keeps on trucking.

Yesterday the Volts added yet another win to their tally when they beat Auckland at the University Oval in their four-day Plunket Shield clash.

You have to flick back to November last year to find a game that the Volts lost.

It highlights just what remarkable things have been done by this southern side this season as they look to add the Plunket Shield title next to the HRV Cup Twenty20 crown they already have banked.

They have gone 10 Twenty20 games and five Plunket Shield games since they last lost.

Individually they also continue to do things that raise eyebrows and stun. This time, against Auckland, it was spinner Nick Beard who was used as a nightwatchman in the Volts' first innings. The usual tailender scored 188 as the Volts racked up 569 for eight in reply to Auckland's 221 all out.

Along with Neil Broom, Beard wrote his name in Otago's record books when the pair put on 239 for the fourth wicket on Friday.

The stand eclipsed the fourth- wicket stand by Southlanders Kevin Burns and Richard Hoskin who put on 235 playing for Otago against Northern Districts in Hamilton in 1988.

In Auckland's second innings, which spanned over Saturday and yesterday, they got through to a more respectable 351 but the damage had already been done.

It only required the Volts to get four runs in their second innings and Aaron Redmond took just one ball to do it, hitting Colin de Grandhomme for a boundary.

The win sets up an interesting final round.

Central Districts still sit top of the table after they beat Canterbury. A good performance in their final game against Northern will see their name etched on the trophy.

However if they falter it will leave a opening for the inform Volts to pounce by beating Wellington with maximum points to head to the top.

Central required a total of 259 to win outright, a challenging target on a MainPower Oval pitch that wasn't as true as usual. However, Jamie How's 81 and half-centuries to Jeet Raval and Mathew Sinclair enabled CD to get there without too much bother.

The Wellington Firebirds are up to fourth in the competition, thanks to bonus points, despite slumping to a five-wicket defeat to ND at Whangarei yesterday.

Wellington were good for two days, but couldn't wrap up ND's tail and then batted poorly in their second innings.

Tim Southee's innings of 83 off 54 balls pushed ND out to 510, before he took five for 52 in Wellington's second innings of 234.

That gave him nine wickets for the match, playing for the first time since he broke a thumb against Wellington in December.

The Southland Times