AUCKLAND ACES v CANTERBURY
Eden Park Outer Oval
4 November 2018
Result: Auckland Aces won by 3 runs
He may have been sent it on his home turf, but Auckland Aces captain Craig Cachopa turned the tables on Canterbury captain Cole McConchie as the rematch between the two high-flying sides got underway at a blustery Eden Park Outer Oval.
Canterbury had a quick success with young opening batsman Finn Allen dismissed for his third duck in four innings to have the scoreboard blushing at 0/1, and Sean Solia was stopped on 17 by McConchie himself at 40/2 in the ninth, but the arrival of the home captain crucially steadied the ship for the Aucklanders.
Cachopa combined initially with Michael Barry before joining forces with debutant Will O'Donnell (48 off 66) — trading places with his brother Robbie, who was unavailable for this match — in a 100-partnership for the fourth wicket.
The pair ultimately shared a 130-run stand for the fourth wicket, just nine runs short of the record between the two sides set by BLACKCAPS Mark Chapman and Colin Munro at the same ground last season. Cachopa raised his third List A century off 116 balls, a nicely paced innings that gathered momentum the longer he batted and included nine boundaries and a six.
Although he was dismissed soon after on 106, a punchy cameo from Graeme Beghin (an unbeaten 32 off just 18 balls) ensured the Aces got up for a tally of 270, and just five wickets down.
They then made quick inroads with the ball, Danru Ferns collecting Stephen Murdoch for no score and carrying on to claim McConchie for just one.
McConchie was in the middle after Ken McClure had once again in his career had to leave the crease after having been struck on the helmet by Mitch McClenaghan, with Canterbury then 25 for one.
When Ferns swung in for yet another — Sean Solia taking the grab to send Leo Carter back for just three, Canterbury was officially in early strife needing almost seven an over at 32/3 in the 14th, and a batsman down with 12th Blake Coburn technically making his debut as a concussion sub for McClure.
By the 30-over mark Canterbury was only four down but required a further 160 runs at almost eight an over, Chad Bowes' continued presence at the crease vital.
He cautiously inched his way into the 90s against Jamie Brown and Will Somerville with solid support from Cam Fletcher, who was already approaching his own half-ton at a good clip. But in the 40th over, with 93 runs remaining to win, disaster struck Bowes as he lost his wicket, trying to ramp to glory on 96 only to be caught off Brown by a diving, sprawling Danru Ferns: 178 for five.
Fletcher reached his fifty with a boundary off Ferns, then backed up for good measure. With time running out, he needed to keep the runs flowing as Henry Shipley looked to get started.
Fletcher (below, PHOTOSPORT) had just belted a six off Ferns (a career best 4-35) when the bowler struck back, taking him out caught in the deep in the same over: 207 for six, now, and a further 64 required from 6.3 overs at 10+.
The tall Shipley (51 not out) now took up the baton and produced a thrilling display as the match boiled down to yet another nail-biting last over finish for the Aces, 17 runs needed. He slammed a six off the first ball of Michael Barry's over, then stayed on target with a boundary next ball. A single followed, bringing up his quickfire half century off just 37 balls. Another single from Will Williams put him back on strike but he could only manage one more.
Now Canterbury needed a boundary off the last ball to win a match studded with flamboyant batting, but Barry showed superb cool to dot down, winning the game by a mere three runs with not a moment to spare.
Remarkably, three of the Aces' first four matches this season have now gone down to the last over.
They now head to the Basin Reserve for a lit top-of-the-table clash this Wednesday against one-point leaders the Firebirds.
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