After seven rounds of the Plunket Shield, the stage is set for a winner-takes-all clash at Seddon Park in Kirikiriroa Hamilton as Northern Districts and Wellington Firebirds square off in the final round of the Plunket Shield starting on Sunday.

Both sides have won four games each this season, with the Firebirds sitting four points ahead on the table due to accruing extra bonus points throughout the season. Whilst a draw will likely be enough for the Firebirds to retain the Shield, Northern Districts will be looking for an outright win to overhaul the deficit.

For Northern Districts, a final round victory would see the side win the Plunket Shield for the first time since the 2011/12 season, following near misses in the 2016/17 and 2020/21 seasons with second place finishes.

The side showed improved red-ball form last season with three wins earning them a third-place finish, whilst the back-to-back Super Smash titles won in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons are the side’s most recent silverware.

Number four batter Joe Carter will be looking for a big match to clinch the accolade of being the top run-scorer in the Plunket Shield; he is currently in third place on the competition batting ladder with 568 runs at an average of 57, and is well clear of Bharat Popli and Brett Hampton who are Northern Districts’ next highest on 354 and 352 runs respectively.

With the ball, BLACKCAPS all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn has been the form bowler in the competition with 29 wickets from just five matches after missing the first two Plunket Shield rounds in 2024 for Test duties with the BLACKCAPS. Kristian Clarke, Matt Fisher and Brett Hampton have all taken more than 20 wickets each in what has been an outstanding seam-bowling attack.

Entry is free for all four days of the match with play starting at 10.30am every morning. All support would be welcomed!