Aces get home by 106 runs

Aces get home by 106 runs

Day four: Auckland Aces 328-8 declared and 394 beat the Wellington Firebirds 318 all out (Tom Blundell 104, Luke Ronchi 66, Matt Quinn 4-63, Bruce Martin 3-120) by 106 runs. 

The Auckland Aces declared overnight to set Wellington 425 for the win. After early success for the bowlers, Wellington came back hard with a Tom Blundell hundred and a brutal 66 from Luke Ronchi, before Matt Quinn was able to claim the last Firebirds wickets and the win. 

Matt Quinn had Josh Brodie caught from the first ball of the innings, then struck again in the seventh over, getting Stephen Murdoch for 6 to have the Firebirds 2-8. Bruce Martin was also effective, removing Grant Elliott and James Franklin, before Tom Blundell dug in and Luke Ronchi attacked. 

Ronchi struck 13 fours and a six in his 66 from just 52 balls, while Blundell batted valiantly for 172 balls for his 104. When Ronchi was caught by Colin Munro from Bhupinder Singh, Luke Woodcock joined Blundell with an equally patient 42 from 101 balls to frustrate the home side - but when that pair went, the writing was on the wall for the Firebirds and Quinn wrapped the match up with the final two wickets and win the match for the Aces. 

Day three: Auckland Aces 328-8 (Craig Cachopa 90, Colin de Grandhomme 71, Mark Gillespie 3-102) and 394 all out lead Wellington Firebirds 298 all out by 424 runs. 

The Aces levered themselves into a strong position 424 runs ahead heading into day four. Craig Cachopa almost followed his double hundred in the first innings with a century, but was stopped ten runs short. He was part of another big Aces innings that made life tough for the Firebirds, who were a bowler short after Andy McKay suffered a back injury.   

On a flat surface, the Aces mad hay while the sun shone. Lead by Cachopa's 90 and Colin de Grandhomme's 71, they were able to take their innings over 300 by the close and realistically, remove the Firebirds' chances of a win. most of the other Auckland batsmen made starts, and despite a small flurry of wickets at the close of play, the Aces are sitting pretty and will have most to day on day four to try and bowl the Firebirds out for the win. 

James Franklin bowled 20 overs for the first time in a long time after Andy McKay was unable to bowl following a back injury. Ili Tugaga ended the day with 2-57, reward for bowling into the wind.  

Day two: Auckland Aces 394 all out lead Wellington Firebirds 292-9 (Michael Papps 40, Luke Ronchi 78, Luke Woodcock 74, Colin de Grandhomme 5-21) by 102 runs. 

The Wellington Firebirds chipped away at the Aces first innings total, but were met with some spirited and successful bowling from the hosts, with Colin de Grandhomme ending the day with a five wicket bag, and his side 102 ahead with one wicket to get. 

Bruce Martin hit out to reach his 50 on day two, before the Aces' innings was wrapped up for 393. The Firebirds were travelling nicely until de Grandhomme ended the first wicket partnership of 62 by nabbing Josh Brodie caught Gareth Hopkins for 22. He repeated the trick to remove Michael Papps for 40, then picked up most of the rest of the Firebirds top order to have them 6-114. 

Luke Ronchi and Luke Woodcock combined for 143 runs to steady the ship, but when they went, there was little resistance from the tail. Auckland will look to wrap the visitors innings up swiftly and get back out to build a lead when play resumes on day three. 

Day one: Auckland Aces 370-8 (Craig Cachopa 203, Gareth Hopkins 70, Mark Gillespie 4-87). 

Craig Cachopa's near run-a-ball double century was the story of the day as the Aces went close to 400 on day one. A deadly opening spell from Mark Gillespie had the hosts 5-54 before Cachopa fearlessly set about rescuing the innings. He made his first century then put his foot on the gas to bring up his second in just 69 balls before Gillespie claimed him too.  

The Aces won the toss and may have regretted the decision when Mark Gillespie had Tim McIntosh, Anaru Kitchen and Munro's wickets early, while Josh Brodie and Luke Ronchi combined to run out Jeet Raval. Grant Elliott got Colin de Grandhomme lbw to have the Aces 5-54.

Craig Cachopa and Gareth Hopkins then combined for 247 runs. The pair totally turned the home team's innings around, while Cachopa was devastating, scoring heavily, lashing 26 fours and nine sixes in his innings. 

He eventually went shortly after bringing up his double century from 203, bowled by Mark Gillespie.  Bruce Martin was not out on 30 at the close of play, and the Firebirds will be looking to complete things quickly on day two. 

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