Mirth amid mayhem from Stewart
Shanan Stewart received equal part grief and back slaps from his Canterbury team-mates yesterday following his maiden Plunket Shield five-wicket bag against Auckland.
The 30-year-old batsman was teased that a spot on television's 'Plays of the Week' was in order and he didn't believe it when coach Gary Stead told him TV3 was on its way to Hagley Oval to interview him.
With previous best figures of three for 17 and only five first-class wickets in 10 seasons, Stewart was thrown the ball in the hope of maybe sneaking one dismissal.
He delivered five, in just 7.1 overs, including Auckland's two best batsmen, Craig Cachopa and Gareth Hopkins, in a triple wicket maiden.
Stewart's haul of five for 42 off 12 overs helped skittle Auckland for 173 before Canterbury reached stumps on the first day in control at 128 for one.
Stewart couldn't quite believe what he'd done. All five wickets came from Auckland's top seven, with the 30-year-old ripping the heart out of the Aces' lineup with his gentle medium pacers.
"I was pretty shocked, but that's probably half the reason I got the wickets I reckon; they were probably a bit shocked as well," he said.
"The guys were having a bit of a joke at lunch, some of them were taking the piss."
His second over was no laughing matter for the Auckland side.
Stewart had Auckland opener Michael Barry (27) caught behind with the first ball, then bowled Cachopa with his next. Skipper Hopkins saw out three balls, but was then bowled as Stewart completed a rare triple wicket maiden, at which stage he had yet to concede a run.
He then removed Auckland's top scorer Anaru Kitchen (41), caught by wicketkeeper Tom Latham down the leg-side, before completing his five wicket bag by trapping Michael Guptill-Bunce leg before wicket on the verge of lunch for figures of five for seven.
Stewart didn't seam the ball around and the swing was minimal; his success came from putting the ball in the right place and Auckland's poor batting.
The Canterbury batsmen then proved the Hagley Oval pitch had no demons in it despite Auckland making Stewart look unplayable.
Cachopa and Hopkins didn't pay him enough respect and both paid the price for playing across the line while Kitchen was perhaps unlucky to only get a touch on his.
"I didn't bowl that great," Stewart said in typically self-effacing style.
"I wouldn't say it was the best I've ever bowled, it was one of those flukey days, let's be honest."
Skipper Peter Fulton, the man responsible for the masterstroke of giving Stewart the ball, then played plenty of masterstrokes himself.
The competition's leading scorer scored an impressive 80 not out before stumps and was to resume this morning with Henry Nicholls (five not out).
Fulton's half-century is his seventh of the season, to go with three hundreds, and moved him to third on the list of Canterbury's leading run scorers in a season.
Fulton has now reached 865 runs, passing coach Gary Stead's highest total of 852 in 2001-2002. He's still some way off the two highest totals, both held by Michael Papps, of 1005 (2006-2007) and 927 (2009-2010).
In other matches, competition leaders Central Districts are well placed at 46 without loss in reply to Northern Districts' 267.
Otago reached stumps at 113 for two after dismissing Wellington for 255.
Canterbury v Auckland Hagley Oval, Christchurch
AUCKLAND First Innings
MJ Barry c TWM Latham b SL Stewart 27
DN Hakaraia c HM Nicholls b BEW McCord 8
AK Kitchen c TWM Latham b SL Stewart 41
Craig Cachopa b SL Stewart 0
GJ Hopkins b SL Stewart 0
C de Grandhomme c TWM Latham b RJ McCone 38
M Guptill-Bunce lbw b SL Stewart 2
BP Martin c HM Nicholls b RJ McCone 12
MD Bates not out 27
L Ferguson lbw b TD Astle 4
MR Quinn c TWM Latham b RJ McCone 8
Extras (5lb, 1wd) 6
Fall of wickets: 37, 60, 60, 60, 83, 87, 116, 139, 145, 173.
Bowling: R McCone 16.2-1-64-3 (1wd), M McEwan 8-3-30-0, B McCord 11-4-21-1, S Stewart 12-5-42-5, T Astle 5-1-11-1.
CANTERBURY First Innings
GH Worker lbw b MD Bates 35
PG Fulton not out 80
HM Nicholls not out 5
Extras (5lb, 1wd, 2nb) 8
Total (for 1 wicket, 44.0 overs) 128
Fall of wickets: 106
Bowling: M Bates 12-3-31-1, M Quinn 11-2-32-0 (1wd), L Ferguson 8-1-23-0, C de Grandhomme 6-2-22 (1nb), B Martin 7-1-15 (1nb).
At Nelson: Northern Districts 267 (D Mitchell 72, J Marshall 54, C Fletcher 34; B Wheeler 3-35, D Bracewell 2-53, A Mathieson 2-42) v Central Districts 46-0 (J How 27no).
At Wellington: Wellington 255 (M Papps 63, L Woodcock 45, J Brodie 37, S Kuggeleijn 37; J Neesham 3-39, N Wagner 2-56, I Butler 2-64) v Otago 113-2 (A Redmond 60, M Bracewell 33).