Wagging tail saves Wizards' blushes

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 01/02/2013

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Canterbury skipper Peter Fulton has heaped praise on the tailend batsmen for saving the blushes of his embattled middle order.

Canterbury reached 329-9 before declaring late on day one of their Plunket Shield match against Wellington at the Basin Reserve in the capital.

Wellington resume this morning at 1-0 but it could have been so much worse for Canterbury had it not been for Brent Findlay, Ryan McCone and No 11 Tim Johnston.

A clearly annoyed Fulton didn't put it so politely. "Brent Findlay and Razz [McCone], then TJ did a great job to, well, to get us out of the shit really."

Fulton himself was again the side's standout, scoring a quickfire 94. He and George Worker (36) helped the Wizards through to 131 before Fulton departed just before lunch. From 131-0, Fulton's side crumbled to 201-7 on a dry pitch that offered little to the Wellington bowlers.

Playing his second first-class game, Findlay batted for two hours for 45, McCone was at the crease for 2 hours for an unbeaten 35 while Johnston was aggressive, making 33 not out off 30 balls before Fulton declared, giving the Wellington openers a nervous two overs to negotiate.

Fulton and coach Gary Stead opted to play three spinners at the expense of an extra batsman but it backfired after the middle order again failed miserably.

Making matters worse was the fact they all got starts. They were small starts but they again failed to stand up.

Shanan Stewart made nine, Dean Brownlie 13, Tom Latham 13 and the promoted Todd Astle 11.

"It is frustrating," Fulton said.

"We just lost it in that middle session through loose shots."

He called 329-9 an "OK" day but knows his side need to bowl well today.

"Playing the three spinners though, we could be in good shape on the fourth day if we go well [today]. This is dryer than I've ever seen the Basin on day one, so it could take a bit of turn."

In other games, Otago had the better of Northern Districts in Queenstown and will resume this morning at 135-2 with Hamish Rutherford unbeaten on 82.

Ian Butler took 6-65 against his old side as Otago rolled ND for 217.

Daryl Mitchell, son of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell, top scored for ND with 60.

Unbeaten half-centuries to Jamie How and Jeet Raval left Central Districts at 107-0 in their second innings at stumps after two days of their game against Auckland. They still trail by eight runs after Craig Cachopa's 145 helped Auckland through to 348 in their first innings.

SCOREBOARD At Wellington CANTERBURY First Innings G Worker c Ronchi b Gillespie 36 P Fulton c Ronchi b Kuggeleijn 94 S Stewart c Ronchi b Friday 9 D Brownlie c Tugaga b Friday 13 T Latham c Ronchi b Boam 13 T Astle c Papps b Boam 11 R Hira c Tugaga b Boam 10 B Findlay c Ryder b Tugaga 45 R McCone not out 35 M McEwan b Tugaga 1 T Johnston not out 33 Extras (lb 5, wd 5, nb 19) 29 Total (for 9 wickets declared, 93.5 overs) 329 Fall: 1-131 2-145, 3-164, 4-164, 5-177, 6-200, 7-201, 8-271, 9-274 Bowling: M Gillespie 19-2-77-1 (1w, 7nb), M Tugaga 13-2-45-2 (1w), S Kuggeleijn 15.5-4-52-1 (1w, 10nb), S Friday 14-0-76-2 (2w, 2nb), H Boam 15-5-33-3, L Woodcock 14-7-34-0, J Ryder 3-1-7-0 WELLINGTON First Innings J Brodie not out 0 M Papps not out 1 Extras 0 Total (for 0 wickets, 2.0 overs) 1 Bowling: R McCone 1-1-0-0, M McEwan 1-0-1-0 At Auckland: Central Districts 233 (K Noema-Barnett 67, T Nethula 25no; M Bates 4-44, C Martin 3-67, C de Grandhomme 2-34) and 107-0 (J How 55no, J Raval 52no) v Auckland 348 (Craig Cachopa 145, M Guptill 47, G Hopkins 32, de Grandhomme 28; B Small 5-61, D Bracewell 2-53). At Queenstown: Northern Districts 217 (D Mitchell 60, I Sodhi 52, D Flynn 32; I Butler 6-56, S Wells 3-40) v Otago 135-2 (H Rutherford 82 no, M Bracewell 30).

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