Ford Trophy round up: March 20
The Wellington Firebirds 106 run win over the SKYCITY Northern Knights today elevated them into third on the Ford Trophy points table at the end of the round-robin, joining the Auckland Aces, Knights and Canterbury Wizards in the Preliminary Finals.
The Firebirds needed just one point to make sure they maintained their playoffs’ position, but instead picked up a convincing bonus point victory over the Knights to overtake them into third spot.
James Franklin’s 114 off 103 balls was the inspiration behind the Firebirds batting effort, driving his side to 280 for seven from 50 overs. It was Franklin’s third List A ton, and one which was highlighted by six fours and six sixes. Daniel Vettori’s comeback performance with the ball was a modest one, taking one wicket in his ten overs for 67.
The Knights response never really picked up momentum, with wickets at regular intervals early on making their task a hard one. Thanks to a brilliant five wicket-bag from Mark Gillespie (six for 38), those intervals became shorter and shorter and in the end the Knights were all out in the 38th over for 166.
The Canterbury Wizards dramatically improved their playoff perspective with a 156 run bonus point win over the Devon Hotel Central Stags, lifting them from third to second. It sees them play the top seeded Auckland Aces in the 1 v 2 Minor Preliminary Final on Sunday, with the winner gaining automatic entry into the Ford Trophy Final.
A strong showing from the Wizards middle-order got them through to an imposing 291 for five from their allocated overs, with Tom Latham (77) and Henry Nicholls (54) the best of the batsmen.
The Stags pursuit revolved solely around one man, with Jamie How clobbering 83 from 63 to try and save his side from a monstrous defeat. As it were, they were all out for 135 after 28 overs, with the Wizards bowlers having a field day.
Logan van Beek made the most of his four overs, taking four for 23 to record career-best List A figures.
In the final game of the round the Otago Volts claimed their second win of the competition by defeating the table-topping Auckland Aces by six wickets.
Persistent pressure from the southerners’ bowling attack restricted Auckland to 221 all out after 49.2 overs. Craig Cachopa was the only one to raise his bat for the Aces, making a team-high 51. Jimmy Neesham was chief wicket-taker with figures of four for 34 from ten overs.
The Volts then carried through that momentum to their batting, with a string of top-order partnerships keeping them well on track. The key stand though was between Michael Bracewell (63) and Nathan McCullum (66*), with the pair putting on 123 for the fourth wicket. Their victory after 45.3 overs helped them stave off the wooden spoon and finish in fifth.