Daniel Flynn leads from front for the Knights
Maybe it was the joy of winning the toss.
Northern Knights skipper Daniel Flynn made a century in Gisborne yesterday as the Knights finally compiled a useful first innings tally.
Flynn's 101 as an opener helped the Knights reach 314 for six at stumps on day one of their Plunket Shield match against the Canterbury Wizards at the Harry Barker Reserve.
Flynn had only previously won one toss in six first-class games this season, and his bad luck with the coin often resulted in the Knights being inserted on wickets that favoured the bowling side.
Yesterday Flynn felt the Gisborne wicket appeared to be a good track to bat first on, put his troops in and led from the front.
It was Flynn's 15th first-class century for Northern Districts, extending his lead over former captain James Marshall (11) as the most prolific century-maker for the association and another reminder to Bruce Edgar and Mike Hesson that he still harbours ambitions to return to the Black Caps test lineup.
Flynn had to spend 30 minutes at tea on 99 not out, but he reached his ton two balls after the break, only to perish in the same over. He spent 275 minutes at the crease, facing 180 balls while hitting 15 boundaries.
He and promising young batsman Joe Carter put on 144 for the second wicket after the hosts lost opener Brad Wilson without a run on the board. Carter made 64 from 129 balls, but once Carter fell Northern's middle order stuttered and the hosts were in danger of again failing to put themselves into a position of dominance.
However, an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 113 between rookie Bharat Popli and all-rounder Mitchell Santner meant the Knights were just nine runs off picking up their third first-innings batting point, with 13 more overs left to claim the maximum for 400 runs.
Popli, who debuted for the Knights this season, made his maiden Shield half-century while Santner, recently recalled to the top level after excellent form for the ND A and Hamilton representative sides, also registered his first 50 at this level.
Popli was 55 not out from 102 balls at stumps and Santner unbeaten on 58 off 109 deliveries.
Canterbury began the four-day match as leaders of the Shield standings with 67 points, while the Knights were last in the six-team competition with 36.