WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS v OTAGO VOLTS
RESULT: Wellington Firebirds won by 193 runs
The Wellington Firebirds wasted no time in bouncing back from a cruel loss against the Auckland Aces, and it was the up-and-down Otago Volts who paid the price.
Home at the Basin, the Firebirds crushed the Volts with a 193-run victory, the largest winning margin (by runs) in the Firebirds' List A history.
The previous record had been a margin of 186, all the way back in the 1971/72 season when their predecessors had played host to the Aucklanders.
Now, in just his third appearance for the team, new opening batting sensation Andrew Fletcher was again propelling the Firebirds forward, from the top: the 25-year-old suddenly has two centuries from his first three Ford Trophy knocks!
All the more remarkable was the South African-born right-hander did it after Volts co-captain Mark Craig had won the toss and sent the hosts in, but it was the capital's cricketers in control early doors, and throughout the match.
Fletcher reached 125 this time, which was more than the Volts managed all put together. And, not even his career best.
Despite the early loss of Malcolm Nofal, he had solid support from Devon Conway (74) and an unbeaten Michael Bracewell (66*) as the form-horse Firebirds racked up an imposing tally of 301 for six.
Wickets came too late for Jacob Duffy, whose 50th List A wicket brought little joy, and the Volts' reply was a painful affair.
Opening batsman Hamish Rutherford was coming off a match-winning century in the previous round and clung on this time to top-score with just 44, before becoming the seventh wicket to fall after he was caught down the leg side attempting a pull against Hamish Bennett.
Bennett had claimed fellow opener Mitch Renwick in his two-for and Jimmy Neesham chimed in with 3-17 off just seven overs against his former team as the Volts lurched from one calamity to the next.
Rolled for 108, they will need to go rapidly back to the drawing board before their first home match at Dunedin's University of Otago Oval, against the Central Stags this Sunday.
Meanwhile, Andrew Fletcher remains the toast of Wellington with a batting average of 146.50 and aggregate of 293 runs from his three innings to date. Not a bad start to one's career.
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