Day four: Northern Knights 288 (Scott Kuggeleijn 94*, Joe Carter 56, Grant Elliott 5-33) and 126-8 (Daniel Flynn 41, Mark Gillespiie 4-60, Andy McKay 4-28) trailed Wellington Firebirds 454-9 declared (James Franklin 135*, Stephen Murdoch 86, Ish Sodhi 4-144) by 40 runs. Match Drawn.
Rain has saved the Northern Knights on day four of their Plunket Shield match against the Wellington Firebirds, giving them a draw.
With a lead of 40 runs and an innings still in hand, the Firebirds needed just two wickets to win on the final day – queue the rain.
Earlier, a James Franklin century on day three had put the Firebirds in a dominant position, with the skipper making an unbeaten 135, before declaring with his side at 454 for nine.
It gave the Firebirds an overall lead of 166 runs – and then their bowlers did the rest.
Mark Gillespie and Andy McKay destroyed the Knights batting line-up in the second innings, taking four wickets apiece. Daniel Flynn provided the biggest resistance with 41, but after 46.4 overs the Knights were in all sorts of trouble at 126 for eight.
At stumps, the Firebirds would have felt sure of victory in the first session tomorrow, but the opportunity never came, with rain drenching Cobham Oval in Whangarei.
The final round of Plunket Shield starts on Sunday.
Day two: Northern Knights 288 (Scott Kuggeleijn 94*, Joe Carter 56, Grant Elliott 5-33) trail Wellington Firebirds 315-6 (Stephen Murdoch 86, James Franklin 75*, Grant Elliott 62) by 27 runs
The three man band of Stephen Murdoch (86), Grant Elliot (62) and James Franklin (75*) have seen the Firebirds secure a first innings lead against the Northern Knights.
The Firebirds are currently 315 for six in response to the Knights total of 288, after Grant Elliott picked up his maiden First-Class five wicket bag yesterday.
Having won the toss and opted to bat, the Knights were in trouble early, with 56 from Joe Carter the only solid contribution from the top six.
Luckily though the lower-order would flourish, with Scott Kuggeleijn and Ish Sodhi making sure their total would at least be respectable. The pair put on 72 for the seventh wicket, before Sodhi eventually succumbed on 46.
Kuggeleijn though kept on plugging, further confirming his ability as a useful allrounder. He looked destined to bring up a well-deserved century, but was left stranded on 94 not out as the Knights were bowled out after 95.2 overs.
The Firebirds response looked shaky at 31 for two, but a third wicket partnership of 146 between Murdoch and Elliott allayed any fears. Their showing was backed up by Franklin and Luke Ronchi (32), who put on another 70 for the sixth wicket.
Franklin took the lead for his side towards the end of the day and will continue on day three with a 27 run advantage.