Collapse undoes earlier revival

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

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Canterbury coach Gary Stead was equal parts proud and frustrated after his side were easily swept aside by Auckland in the fifth round of the Plunket Shield yesterday.

Auckland won the match, at Eden Park No 2, with more than two sessions remaining and now sit second on the six-team table.

And while Stead's Canterbury side are languishing in fifth and could drop to last when other games are completed in the round, the new coach said there was plenty to like about their effort.

"To fight back from 70-5 and score 400 and be able to declare was a big positive," he said. "Gareth Andrew's 180 was big. That was his maiden first-class century, not that you'd believe it if you saw how he hit the ball.

"And Ryan McCone bowled really well on what was a pretty good batting deck to grab another five-wicket bag."

All those things were good but Canterbury lost.

They lost by seven wickets after leading on the first innings by 98 runs.

Stead admitted his side's second-innings collapse - they were rolled for 120 in 43.2 overs - was essentially the difference. "But I had a good look at it and we've had about 300 caps total to their more than 1000," he said. "Age too - they're about eight years older than us on average."

Former Black Cap Tim McIntosh continued his success in playing against Canterbury yesterday. He scored an unbeaten 77 as Auckland chased down their meagre 219-run target. In 16 matches against Canterbury, McIntosh averages 63.85.

Canterbury now turn their attention to a diet of Twenty20 cricket, beginning tomorrow night in Auckland against the two-time defending champion Aces side.

Stead said that with Black Caps Rob Nicol and Ronnie Hira due back for the Wizards' New Year's Day match in Nelson, they knew the importance of a couple of wins before that to keep themselves in the playoff hunt.

They were none from two but were looking forward to being able to focus on one format, he said.

The Wizards welcome Brendon Diamanti for the remainder of the Twenty20 season, while Andrew will be joined by a second import, Mitchell Claydon, for tomorrow's televised match.

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