Can't stop, won't stop | PHOTOSPORT

Holy hecka! Auckland Aces keep chalking them up

Video Highlights




Kennards Hire Community Oval, Auckland

28-31 March, 2022


AUCKLAND won by 10 wickets

Toss: Aces who batted

Total points this round: Auckland Aces 20 (maximum achieved); Wellington Firebirds 2

Selected Milestones

Robbie O'Donnell - seventh first-class century

Sean Solia - maiden first-class century

Record first-class third wicket stand for Auckland Aces v Wellington Firebirds

Tom Blundell - 150 first-class dismissals for Wellington Firebirds

Simon Keene - third first-class bag (in third match)

Tim Robinson - maiden first-class century

Sensational Simon Keene | PHOTOSPORT


By lunch on the third morning, the Firebirds still trailed by 151 runs in the follow on, with six wickets intact - and opening batsman Rachin Ravindra having provided an important unbeaten half century for the side.

Simon Keene had meanwhile grabbed his seventh wicket for the match in Troy Johnson, the Firebirds heading in for the meal break at 123/4 with spin twins Will Somerville and Louis Delport also successful in the morning session.

By tea, the Firebirds would be backs to the wall at 197/7, Ravindra having been caught behind off Solia on 58 at 151/5, and the Wellington descent beginning.

The wickets would be shared all around the Aces' attack as they hunted as a pack, attacking, attacking, attacking.

Tom Blundell held the Firebirds fort for just a further five overs before Solia got that huge wicket caught behind, too.

Ollie Newton again showed fight at number nine with a knock of 30, including three sixes, before falling to Ollie Pringle in the last session at 234/8.

Now the Aces needed just another two tailend wickets to save themselves a drive into work on the fourth morning, with the onus falling on Peter Younghusband and Iain McPeake to save some face for the Firebirds, still needing some 40 runs to make the Aces bat again.

Keene found the edge of McPeake's bat for his eighth in the match: nine down, and he would finish with another startling match haul of eight for 89.

Keene's first-class career to date: three matches, three bags, 23 wickets at 8.82, a best of 6/44 and best match figures of 8/76. He has bolted into the top three wicketkeepers in the competition this season, with Nathan Smith (24) and Brett Randell (29) now the only men ahead of him and with two rounds left to go for the Aces.

It was Delport who eventually wrapped up the Firebirds' innings in Auckland with his third of the innings, finishing with 3-44 as the Firebirds took the moderate satisfaction of making their hosts bat again.

However, the Aces needed only eight runs for victory, Will O'Donnell doing the honours with one last boundary to complete an impressive outright with a day to spare.

The Aces had one hand on the trophy.


On another warm morning on Sandringham Road Robbie O'Donnell added a further 12 runs to his overnight 118* before he was given out at 362/4, and nightwatchman Louis Delport departed not long after - but it wasn't enough for the Firebirds to stop the Aces in their tracks.

Ryan Harrison came in and slapped a quick 46 in a brisk 77-run stand for the sixth wicket for Ben Horne before O'Donnell declared at 469/8.

The Firebirds then fell to pieces, losing their first five wickets before they had got the first 100 on the board in their own first innings.

Impressive left-armer Ben Lister got the ball rolling in the first over as Devan Vishvaka squirted a catch without scoring, then Simon Keene came on after lunch at first change in the 11th over and started with a double wicket maiden: Troy Johnson and Jakob Bhula both back in the tent at 42/3.

Keene had 3-1 after his third over saw Rachin Ravindra caught behind before Tom Blundell and Tim Robinson began to stitch together a fightback.

Blundell had reached 20 before he chased a wide one from Keene and delivered a fourth wicket for the young paceman. Keene was just getting started: he would have 5-30 by tea, all his wickets in the middle session.

The incredible start to the 20-year-old's career had now seen Keene nail a bag in each of his first three first-class matches.

Keene went on to bag 6-51 off just 13 overs as the Firebirds were rolled for 195 - short of the follow on; and that with a fighting maiden first-class ton from powerful teenager Tim Robinson accounting for more than half the runs.

Rapidly running out of partners, Robinson reached his century off just 112 balls with a thunderous straight six, in just over three hours, with 14 boundaries and three sixes in all - finishing unbeaten on 103*.

By stumps the visitors were 36/1 in their second innings with Ben Lister having accounted for rookie opener Vishvaka for the second time in the day.

The Firebirds will resume trailing by 238 with nine in hand.


The Auckland Aces made a powerful start to their last home fixture of an irregular summer, captain Robbie O'Donnell winning the toss and opting to bat in the top v bottom of the table clash.

By the end of the day, the Aces were sitting pretty with two centurions and a new record third-wicket stand in the books between these two teams.

In the prelude to this match, regular opening batsman George Worker had been named in the squad but, after Mark Chapman was stood down from the BLACKCAPS ODI squad due to COVID-19, Worker was whistled off to Bay Oval as a replacement.

That saw Ryan Harrison recalled to the Aces' squad while versatile Sean Solia and Will O'Donnell paired up as the opening batsmen - with Solia going on to reach his maiden first-class century.

By lunch, the Aces were 104/1 with Iain McPeake the successful bowler for the Firebirds, the younger O'Donnell having been caught on 36 at 70/1.

Cole Briggs joined Solia for the second wicket and, after the luncheon, Solia went on to his half century as he bludgeoned the hapless ball towards the rope.

Briggs had been run out by then in a scramble for a sharp single, but the combination of Robbie O'Donnell and Solia would prove the definitive partnership of the opening day.

The pair would still be there at tea, by which time Solia had reached 85* and his captain 57*.

Solia was the first to raise the bal for three figures in the last session, the allrounder's maiden first-class century arriving after 249 balls and 293 minutes with 13 boundaries and two sixes.

The pair notched up 150 for the third wicket, and then the 300 - with O'Donnell on 91* when the new ball was taken.

He survived, and carried on to raise his seventh first-class century (132 balls, 175 minutes, 12 boundaries, 4 sixes): his second Plunket Shield ton this summer.

The Aces had reached 323/2 before the Firebirds finally struck again, Michael Snedden finally enticing a fateful swipe from Solia who ended his special knock on 135 (19 boundaries, four sixes).

By stumps, the hosts were 349/3 with nightwatchman Louis Delport incumbent with O'Donnell.






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