CD learn of title win while on the field

Central Districts wrapped up the Plunket Shield title in unusual circumstances in Nelson on Saturday.

Central were still batting, chasing their 285-run second-innings victory target against Northern Districts, when news filtered through to Saxton Oval that Otago, the only remaining team in contention for the title, had just lost outright to Wellington.

With Central having entered the final round with a nine-point lead over Otago, the title was secured.

"Everyone was on their phones watching the updates on the Black Caps website," CD manager and assistant coach Lance Hamilton said.

"But after they [Otago] were nine wickets down it didn't update for ages and we didn't know where we stood. Then we got a text from Luke Woodcock to Tarun [Nethula] saying 'we've just won, so so have you'.

"Then I had one from [Wellington wicketkeeper] Luke Ronchi as well saying 'well done' but it still didn't update on the system so we were like, 'prove it'.

"So Luke Woodcock rang Tarun while Wellington were singing their victory song in the dressing room and we put it on loudspeaker and all jumped up and down and celebrated too."

Not out batsmen Jamie How and Carl Cachopa soon twigged and had a quick hug. Cachopa was out shortly after but Mathew Sinclair joined How and the pair got through to tea, when the game was called off and the party could begin in earnest.

CD were 116-2 after 22 overs, having been set 285 for outright points. How ended unbeaten on 84 off just 63 balls, having collected 12 fours and three big sixes.

The celebrations went well into yesterday morning.

Resuming the day at 285-6, Northern's batsmen showed plenty of fight.

James Marshall completed a superb match double, following his first-innings 72 with his 13th first- class century in the second, continuing from his overnight score of 94.

He ended the innings unbeaten on 156 after the morning session had proved an exercise in frustration for Central's bowlers. The immovable Marshall received excellent support from both Anurag Verma and a gutsy Ish Sodhi batting at No 10 with a strained quad muscle.

Marshall added 37 runs with Verma (25) for the eighth wicket ahead of a remarkable 98-run partnership with a battling Sodhi for the ninth. Sodhi's contribution was a gritty 51 runs off 111 balls. Fairfax NZ

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