NORTHERN DISTRICTS v WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS
24 November 2018
Result: No result, Northern Districts eliminated from Elimination Final contention
Only 5.2 overs of play were possible in a key match for the Wellington Firebirds in Whangarei, and they now find themselves consigned to a 2v3 Elimination Final against defending champions the Auckland Aces in Auckland this Wednesday.
Leading The Ford Trophy field by one slender point going into the final round, the visitors had needed a win if they were to be sure of progressing direct to the December 1 Grand Final. Anything less and it left the door ajar for the Volts to usurp them, depending on the result of the Volts' match against the Aces in Invercargill.
The brief glimpse of cricket in the morning was time enough for ND quick Scott Kuggeleijn to grab two quick wickets in the humid conditions, putting a dent in Firebirds rookie sensation Andrew Fletcher's season average before zeroing in on his young opening partner Jakob Bhula, who had scored a career best 99 in the previous round.
The weather saw Kuggeleijn's haul stop at four for the ND List A home season after his return from the NZ A tour in UAE.
Caught behind on two, Fletcher's average meanwhile dropped to 68.00 from 10 innings, having already claimed the Firebirds season record amid his 612 runs to date and finishing the regular season as the competition's top run-scorer, in his rookie season.
Captain Dean Brownlie finished as ND's top run-maker for 2018/19 with 293 runs at 36.62 while spinner Anton Devcich (below) edged paceman Brett Randell as the side's top wicket-taker with 12 at 26.58, including his long awaited maiden five-wicket bag.
Firebird Hamish Bennett has managed to keep his nose in front of rival captain Jacob Duffy in the wickets tally.