Firebirds move to second with win

Firebirds move to second with win

Day four: Wellington Firebirds 487 all out and 82-2 (Grant Elliott 27*, Michael Pollard 24*) beat Otago Volts 339 & 229 all out (Aaron Redmond 59*, Neil Broom 46, James Neesham 60) by 8 wickets. 

The Firebirds bowled the Volts out cheaply in their second inning, leaving themselves a low chase to take the win, which they completed with few dramas.  

After completing their innings early on day four, the Firebirds set about rattling the hosts with the ball - and it was Andy McKay (3-52_ and Jeetan Patel (4-75) that did the damage, after Luke Woodcock removed Aaron Redmond for 59. Redmond, Neil Broom and a typically destructive James Neesham were the only Otago batsmen to post meaningful runs, and they will feel they did not occupy the crease or post enough runs to trouble theFirebirds, who were able to knock the runs off for only two wickets. 

The win takes the Firebirds to second on the table, while the Volts are right in behind on third. 

Day three: Wellington Firebirds 480 (Micheal Pollard 166, James Franklin 116, Luke Ronchi 55, James Neesham 4-100, Sam Wells 3-93) lead Otago Volts 339 by 141 runs. 

The Wellington Firebirds spent day three batting, reaching the Otago Volts' total then building a lead of their own. 

Michael Pollard reached his century early on day three, combining with James Franklin for a 238 fourth wicket partnership before James Neesham got his wicket for 166. Franklin went on to make a patient 116 from 246 balls, while Luke Ronchi made a whirlwind 55 from 35 balls. 

There was some success for the home side, with Neesham claiming four wickets, including the two centurions, while Sam Wells took three, grabbing Ronchi as he was looking set to wreck havoc with everyone's bowling figures. 

The time lost to rain on day one could rob this match of a result for either side unless something sensational happens on day four - the Firebirds will be pleased with their progress on day three.  

Day two: Otago Volts 339 all out (Jesse Ryder 83, James Neesham 59, Mark Gillespie 3-80, Brent Arnel 3-85) lead the Wellington Firebirds 218-3 (Michael Papps 58, Michael Pollard 94*, Sam Wells 2-42) by 121 runs.  

Jesse Ryder (83) and James Neesham (59) got the Volts through to 339 all out shortly after lunch on day two, after Mark Gillespie and Brent Arnel made steady inroads into the home side's batting order. In reply, the Firebirds made steady progress thanks to the reliable Michael Papps and Michael Pollard.  

Ryder resumed on 39 after the rain-affected day one and made it to 83 before being bowled by Jeetan Patel. James Neesham was in no mood to mess around, making 59 from 62 balls - Derek de Boorder (38) and Mark Craig (41) made valuable runs at the end of the innings as Otago finished on 339 all out shortly after lunch. 

Papps was continuing his hot run of form at a good clip, making 58 from 63 balls before falling to Wells, who'd already taken care of his opening partner  Stephen Murdoch. Michael Pollard was the rock of the innings and remains on 94 not out overnight, and will look to get his three figures and help Wellington close to Otago's score overnight.   

Day one: Otago Volts 141-1 (Neil Broom 51, Jesse Ryder 39*, Mark Gillespie 1-45).

When Mark Gillespie took Neil Broom's wicket in Invercargill, he became only the sixth player to have taken 50 wickets against the other five Major Associations at first class level. He joins a list of Stephen Boock, Ewan Chatfield, Bob Blair, Evan Gray and David O'Sullivan that have achieved the special milestone.

His wicket was one of the highlights of a day badly affected by rain - Neil Broom's 51 at the top of the order was scored at brisk pace - Michael Bracewell went cheaply, as did Sam Wells before Jesse Ryder and Nathan McCullum came together. They went steadily until at 127-4 the heavens opened at lunch. The players got back out late in the day for another four overs, before they were forced from the field again, and no further play was possible - the teams will be hoping for better luck weather-wise on day two. 

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