A washed out final day at the Basin Reserve led to frustration for the Wellington Firebirds, who needed just one further wicket to claim an outright victory; and Northern Districts, who required a further 61 runs in their round five Plunket Shield clash.
No play was possible on day four , with the match finally called a draw after 5.30pm.
A win to the Firebirds would have elevated them from fifth to third on the table, while a win to ND would have lifted them from fourth to third, as this season’s title fight enters the business end.
The Firebirds’ Devon Conway continued an outstanding summer across all formats with an unbeaten 146* on day one putting his side in a commanding position moving into day two.
In his 11th first-class season, the consistent first drop’s 16th first-class century is his third for Wellington — and second this season, having scored 203 not out in October.
Conway’s second summer in New Zealand cricket has been a prodigious one, having produced four List A half centuries in The Ford Trophy and an unbeaten 105 — the first century of a consistent career in the shortest format — in the Burger King Super Smash.
Sent in by Northern Districts, the Firebirds had already got off to a solid start by the time Conway strode to the middle, opener Luke Woodcock (43) having just departed at 82 for one.
The day was bittersweet for the Firebirds’ other opening batsman, however, Rachin Ravindra dismissed just four runs short of what would have been the young man’s maiden first-class and Firebirds century. Ravindra would have to settle for a career best in his second Plunket Shield match for the team, his previous having been his 82 on debut.
The Firebirds went to stumps at 367 for five, ND seamer Jimmy Baker having removed Tom Blundell and Malcolm Nofal in the same over in the last session but the Firebirds already on course to dictate terms.
After an intyriguing second day where Northern Districts showed spirit and a fight back of their own with the bat, it was a day of declarations on day three that set up a possibility of all three results on the final day.
At stumps, Northern Districts at 312 for nine had just one wicket left in hand, with a further 61 runs required for a victory.
However, number nine batsman Ish Sodhi — who had scored nine first-class half centuries in his career, six of them for ND — was unbeaten on 47 not out.
For the Firebirds, Hamish Bennett had meanwhile claimed his seventh first-class five-wicket bag (his fourth for the Firebirds) and headed into the final morning on figures of five for 68 with his side needing just one wicket to win.
But despite all the promise of excitement on day four at the Basin, the rain had it’s final say, washing out the final day’s play with just three rounds of matches left to play.
The Firebirds now begin preparations for their round six match against Canterbury at Hagley Oval on March 1.