Firebirds own the Basin as Canterbury capitulates

Video Highlights




Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington

20-22 October, 2023



First innings points:

Wellington Firebirds: 7

Canterbury: 4

Total points this round: Wellington Firebirds 19, Canterbury 4


Dylan Hunter: First-class debut

Michael Rippon and Michael Rae: First-class debuts for Canterbury (previously Otago Volts)

Nick Greenwood: Career best batting (79)

Zak Foulkes: Career best bowling (4/43)


All images: PHOTOSPORT

A concerted first innings dig of 325 after having been sent in laid an essential foundation for the Wellington Firebirds' good first-up win at their home ground. Canterbury's reply left the visitors with a chunky deficit, but they hauled themselves back into the game with a strong second innings bowling performance. But anything they could do, the Firebirds could do better as the Wellingtonians eclipsed their opponents in three days for a sweet round one victory over last summer's runners-up.


Canterbury captain Cole McConchie didn't have all his top guns available for the season opener, with top order star Chad Bowes recovering from an illness and Henry Nicholls injured. Even so, there was plenty of experience in the Canterbury middle order and attack, but they would prove no match for Wellington on this occasion.

The Firebirds overcame a nervy day one start to string a few partnerships together, with opener Nick Greenwood hanging in for a career-best 79 and half centuries from Nick Kelly and Muhammed Abbas, and 49 from Nathan Smith, ensuring the Firebirds put a decent first-up score on the board.

By stumps they'd reached 306/7 which would ultimately prove to be more runs in the bank already than any of the subsequent innings.


Canterbury made the most of the early Basin conditions to finish off Wellington for 325 - all-rounder Zak Foulkes picking up a career-best four-fa, but the red and blacks were quickly on the back foot as Ben Sears and Smith ripped into their top order.

Sears struck with his very first delivery of the season, Foulkes caught behind for a royal duck - first ball of the innings. When McConchie and Leo Carter also fell quickly, the Firebirds had their tail feathers up.

They stayed on top throughout the innings, no batter permitted to score more than 31 (Michael Rippon on Canterbury debut) as Peter Younghusband spun through the lower order for a satisfying 3/5 off just 2.1 overs of work, his last wicket ending the innings and the day's play.


The Firebirds had a 169-run first innings advantage in the books, but they struggled to emulate their first innings dominance as first-change Foulkes once again stood up as a dangerman with ball in hand.

He grabbed 3/34 in his second innings as he got on top of the top order, and as backed up by opener Fraser Sheat (below) who eventually snared 4/50, as well as a runout at the tail of proceedings.

Dismissed for 156, it wasn't the kind of "moving day" that home captain Nick Kelly had envisaged, but the third afternoon was about to make everything good again for the hosts.

Once again, the Firebirds' attack throttled their hosts.

This time Muhammad Abbas (2/14) and Smith (3/39) did the damage up top, before the janitor Younghusband cleaned up the lower order again. Three prime batsmen in McConchie, Matt Boyle and Rippon had all been dismissed without scoring, and it sucked the oxygen out of Canterbury who were forced to try to simply hold on.

Late in the third session, Canterbury found themselves nine down with only talented keeper-batsman Matt Hay showing resistance, grapply his way into the 40s with the last tailender for company. With some 130 runs still needed for an unlikely victory, every ball was a hold-your-breath moment.

It was never going to last, as the hosts helped themselves to a 129-run win - Hay the last man out after he lost his balance, stumbled and hit his own wicket against Sears, Smith and Younghusband finishing with three wickets each.

The Firebirds now head to Nelson on Saturday for a big test against defending champions the Central Stags, while Canterbury will have their first home match at Hagley against the Volts - both of those sides looking for a first win next week.






Asahi CCC Dream11 Dulux Ford Gillette GJ Gardner KFC Life Direct Pals Powerade Spark Spark