Just one Canterbury wicket came between Northern Districts and their second win of the Plunket Shield first class cricket season at the end of a dramatic fourth day in Christchurch yesterday.
They were forced to settle for the draw, but it would have been a victory had the new concussion substitute rule for batsmen not come to the home side's aid in the final session.
Canterbury's Ken McClure was struck on the helmet by a Neil Wagner bouncer as they began to look vulnerable after tea, and was replaced by 12th man Theo van Woerkom, as the rule now allows. He it was, along with number 11 Fraser Sheat, who held out for the final seven overs to deny ND the victory.
They had begun the final day setting Canterbury 385 to win with a declaration at 234 for six, after adding a quick 30 runs to their overnight total of 204 for five. They had earlier taken a 150 run first innings lead after rolling the home side for 228 in response to their 378.
ND then promptly got on with the job of running through Canterbury's batting lineup for a second time with two wickets, including Blackcap Tom Latham, back in the shed for 38 runs.
A third wicket partnership of 136, however, between opener Jack Boyle and Blackcap Henry Nicholls turned the game around, and ND's win looked beyond their reach.
But then after tea the game turned again dramatically as ND's international bowling combination of Ish Sodhi and Neil Wagner caused havoc.
Nicholls and Boyle went quickly, then the remainder of the Canterbury lineup could only add 31 more runs between them, including 14 to the concussed McClure.
Sodhi finished with four wickets, and Wagner with three, but that final wicket which would have moved them up from third to top of the Plunket Shield table just wouldn't come.
They now take a break from the four-day competition to kick off the one-day Ford Trophy on Wednesday.
ND travel to Eden Park Outer Oval to take on the Auckland Aces.