Toole time | PHOTOSPORT

Bags mine: Ray Toole takes five

Video Highlights


CENTRAL STAGS defeated CANTERBURY by 4 wickets

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

Central Stags: 4 points


Selected milestones

Curtis Heaphy : List A debut

Blair Tickner : 50th List A wicket for Central Stags

Ray Toole : career best List A figures, maiden five-wicket bag

Curtis Heaphy : Maiden List A half century

Will Clark : Maiden List A half century

Debutant Curtis Heaphy played an important role | All images PHOTOSPORT

In a replay of the last summer's Ford Trophy Grand Final, defending champions Central showed they still have the wood over Canterbury, with a well paced win.

With regular captain Tom Bruce still absent with a hernia, fill-in captain Dane Cleaver won his team's first toss of the season, and put Canterbury into bat at a windy Pukekura Park.

Matches between the two teams are always interesting, and Canterbury had arrived fired up to exact some revenge against the Stags - with brothers Matt Boyle and Jack Boyle once again squaring off against each other.

The Boyle of the Canterbury variety helped ensure his team got off to a good start, almost reaching a half century as he and BLACKCAP Chad Bowes (36) put on a quick 87 for the opening wicket.

They attacked the short boundaries, slamming eight sixes between them, but the great start would fall away somewhat after left-arm spinner Jayden Lennox (2/37, below) broke the stand with two wickets in two balls.

Ray Toole followed up in the very next over to stop the red-and-black Boyle from reaching his half century.

It was the start of a special day for the strong left-arm paceman who added his maiden List A one-day bag to all the bags he had been taking in red-ball cricket.

There were still some obstacles to overcome; chiefly the exciting Mitch Hay who continued his consistent form with a top score of 82, at a breezy run-a-ball pace.

Hay shared a 97-run stand with Michael Rippon who made 43 before becoming Blair Tickner's 50th Ford Trophy victim, Tickner with 2/48; and put on a further 47 with handy Zak Foulkes.

It was Toole who stopped Hay from going on to a century and doing any more damage at 248/6, when big late runs could have really cost the hosts.

Instead, they rallied, as Toole wrapped up the innings in the 47th over. He finished with figures of 5/72 off his 9.4 overs at the boutique ground, a necessary expense.

Needing almost run-a-ball against a good attack, a total of 278 would still be a fair chase for the Stags who were looking for their first win in the second round, while Canterbury had already chalked up their first against the Firebirds on the previous weekend.

The bounce of big paceman Will O'Rourke removed the green Boyle early, and Foulkes struck a big blow when he had Cleaver out for a duck.

But Brad Schmulian (43 off 42) built a third-wicket platform with the debutant Curtis Heaphy (below), who would go on to reach a half century and top-score in his first white-ball appearance.

The debutant had support from Josh Clarkson (44) for a time, as the Stags steadied themselves.

A stylish 20-year-old batsman, Heaphy has already played six Plunket Shield matches for the team over the past two years and came in at four, reaching 70 before he was caught at 222/5 in the 43rd.

He and contemporary Will Clark have played a lot of cricket together, and had just been upping the tempo in their 68-run stand.

Although the Stags were staying in touch, now they still had to elevate the run rate further to make sure they were ahead in the game.

Allrounder Clark (above) can hit a ball hard, and reached his own maiden List A half century off just 48 balls, with two sixes in the mix.

The match was going to go down to the wire, and it was important that he and new partner Bayley Wiggins kept looking for every run.

Wiggins had scored a maiden century at the same ground in his own debut season, and he had just the answer. He attacked, racing to 25* off just 16 balls before Gus McKenzie punched back with the wicket of Clark, caught behind on 59.

The Stags still needed 14 off 16 as Bevan Small strode to the middle. The battle-scarred veteran quickly found the boundary to ease the tension, just eight runs now needed off the last two overs.

The Stags brought it home with seven balls to spare, once again frustrating their great rivals from the south who took their first hit of the campaign.

The Stags now head to Palmerston North to play the Firebirds on Sunday before returning to Pukekura Park to play the Volts in Round Four. Canterbury meanwhile heads home to Hagley Oval to await the Aces.






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