Ford Trophy round six: Devon Hotel Central Stags 326/3 (Worker 118, Young 101 not out, Noema-Barnett 66 not out, Santner 10-0-32-1) beat SKYCITY Northern Knights (167 in 39.4 overs, Devcich 54, Brownlie 57; Mathieson 3-36 off six) by 159 runs at Harry Barker Reserve, Gisborne
The Devon Hotel Central Stags have made sure lightning didn’t strike twice, regaining the Ford Trophy lead with a 159-run win over the SKYCITY Northern Knights in Gisborne, set up by twin centuries from George Worker and Will Young.
The Knights had been the only team to beat the table-topping Stags in the previous five rounds heading into today’s match, but opening batsman Worker’s third century in six games (his second against the Knights this season) made it look easy on a deck that had assisted the seamers early on and seen Jamie How dismissed off Graeme Aldridge’s first ball. Worker now has exactly 500 runs from his six innings in the Ford Trophy this season.
Worker was backed up by 22-year-old Will Young, who closed out the innings unbeaten for his maiden Ford Trophy and List A century to continue his own strong form. Young had already posted an unbeaten 97 in his two half-centuries leading up to today’s milestone. Assisted by a Kieran Noema-Barnett blitzkrieg over the last 10 overs, they ruined a good start by the Knights — Young posting his century with a six off the final ball of the innings, off 87 balls.
Returning BLACKCAP BJ Watling was standing in for regular Knights skipper Daniel Flynn, out with a stomach bug; and had had no hesitation in bowling first in the overcast conditions. But only the figures of young spinner Mitchell Santner, who bowled through the middle for 1-32, survived the late onslaught as the Stags, with plenty of wickets in hand, gathered momentum — then let loose for an ultimate tally of 326/3, Young and Noema-Barnett (66* off 31) blasting their unbeaten 121-run stand off 60 balls — a new Stags record for the fourth wicket against the Knights.
The Stags' well-paced innings was also a record List A total for Gisborne's Harry Barker Reserve in a summer that has seen several ground records shattered around the country, while Worker's century equalled the Central record held by Ross Taylor for most Ford Trophy centuries in one season.
Anton Devcich made an aggressive start in reply, posting an opening stand of 90 off 115 balls with Dean Brownlie. But after quirky spinner Marty Kain suddenly pulled out a double breakthrough in the 20th over — removing both Devcich and Brad Wilson caught and bowled, Brownlie was forced into a dogged, ultimately doomed role as the middle order crumbled around him.
Daryl Mitchell and Watling (who nicked one behind off Noema-Barnett) fell in the space of five balls at the halfway stage, and at 99/4 the Knights never got back on top of the asking rate. Their fate was all but sealed when five wickets fell in the space of five overs between the 33rd and the 37th, before they were dismissed for 167 with over 10 overs to spare.
Most runs in a Ford Trophy season: