Wellington 353 for 5 declared (Murdoch 171, Cachopa 76) and 307 for 5 (Blundell 77*, Pollard 65) beat Central Districts 385 (Worker 210, van Wyk 51) and 273 for 8 declared (Smith 117, van Wyk 54) by five wickets
Half-centuries from Michael Pollard and Tom Blundell led a stellar batting effort from Wellington, as the team hunted down a second-innings total of 307 against Central Districts to register their first win of the season. The victory also defied a first-innings double-century from George Worker, who had helped Central Districts secure the innings lead.
The win had seemed unlikely when Wellington’s opener Stephen Murdoch was trapped lbw for a duck early in the chase, but the rest of Wellington’s top and middle order all chipped in with handy knocks. Michael Papps (41) and Craig Cachopa stabilised the innings with a 68-run stand, before Pollard and Blundell turned the match around with a 93-run partnership. Pollard hit three fours and four sixes during his 65, while Blundell’s unbeaten 77 featured eight fours and a six. Pollard could not see the chase through, but Blundell remained firm and put up fifty-plus stands with both Matt Taylor and Luke Woodcock to take the team home.
Earlier, Central Districts, after being inserted, made the early running in the match. The team found themselves struggling at 92 for 4, but Worker and Kruger van Wyk counterattacked by combining for a 110-run partnership. Another mini-collapse reduced Central Districts from 202 for 4 to 251 for 9, but Worker once again came to the rescue, adding a further 134 for the last wicket with the No.11 Andrew Mathieson, who contributed just 12 to the partnership. Worker was eventually dismissed for 210, with 26 fours and six sixes.
Wellington, in reply, were lifted by a 171 from Murdoch, and his 161-run partnership for the third wicket with Craig Cachopa. After Cachopa was dismissed, Blundell chipped in with an unbeaten 45. However, Wellington, after batting for 110 overs, surprisingly declared at 353 for 5 to hand Central Districts a 32-run lead.
Central Districts once again lost their first four wickets early, and once again, van Wyk helped stage a recovery with a 101-ball 54. However, it was Central Districts’ opener Ben Smith who made the biggest contribution, scoring 117 not out, and guiding the team to 273 for 8, after which they declared. His knock meant Wellington had less than a day to gun down a target in excess of 300. Wellington, though, managed it in just 62.3 overs.
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