Todd Astle's career-best match-haul of 14 wickets and a double-hundred from Tom Latham set up Canterbury's nine-wicket win over Central Districts. The win ensured that Canterbury finished as Plunket Shield champions by virtue of topping the group with 106 points.
Opting to bat, Central Districts had piled up a commanding 403, built around Kruger van Wyk's 111 and fifties from Ben Smith (91), Tarun Nethula (81) and Dean Robinson (62). Astle, who bowled nearly 52 overs was the chief wicket-taker, finishing with 8 for 154, his best innings figures in first-class cricket.
Canterbury responded with a mammoth 582, anchored by Latham's first-class best of 261. The opening batsman played 383 balls in his innings and scored 30 fours and a six and ensured that by the time he was out, Canterbury had overtaken the opposition score comfortably. AY Patel was the most successful bowler for Central Districts with returns of 6 for 162.
Astle then ran through the Central Districts' batting order, dismissing their first-innings performers cheaply to scuttle the side for 182. That left Canterbury with a target of 4 runs, which they achieved in four balls.
Auckland's Craig Cachopa reversed a collapse with his maiden double-century in first-class cricket and then added a further 90 in the second innings to set up a daunting target, which proved beyond the reach ofWellington at Eden Park.
Mark Gillespie's new-ball spell threw Auckland's decision to bat in considerable doubt. The medium-pacer claimed three of the top-four batsmen, the other being run-out, to engender a bleak scoreline of 27 for 4. However, Cachopa in the company of his captain Gareth Hopkins engineered a stunning 247-run partnership for the sixth wicket, at 4.54 per over, to drown Wellington's early advantage.
Cachopa had 17 fours and two sixes when he reached his century but swelled that tally by nine and seven each race to a double-ton off only 204 balls. Hopkins provided ideal foil, as he ground his way to 70 off 171 balls. Bruce Martin struck a handy fifty at No.8 as the total swelled to 394.
Wellington's reply was brisk, but it stalled when the opening stand was broken on 62 in the 19th over. They could muster only eight runs in the next 55 balls, and lost three further wickets. Colin de Grandhomme was the wrecker-in-chief, accounting for four of the top-five and returning to snare a further two wickets to finish at 6 for 24. Fighting half-centuries from Luke Ronchi and Luke Woodcock though provided enough sustenance for the total to reach 298.