SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2020
NORTHERN DISTRICTS beat WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS by 82 runs
• Cobham Oval | Whangarei
An ND victory in the final Ford Trophy round not only bumped out defending champions the Wellington Firebirds, it saw ND miss out to boot.
Having headed into the clutch last round second on a tight table, with a one-point advantage on the pack, the Firebirds had needed only to win their last round to go through to the last three.
But Northern had other plans, in what would also become their last white-ball game of the summer.
Winning the toss and batting in warm conditions, Anton Devcich led the opening assault with 76 at the top before BJ Watling added a half century of his own to ensured ND had a total on the big ground.
That was despite a five-wicket bag for Iain McPeake who netted a handy 5-40 as ND went through their 50 overs to 249 for nine.
A flurry of late wickets as four wickets fall in the last five overs to slow the home side's momentum at the death. @ndcricket reach 249/9 from their 50 overs. Back for the chase soon!🏏— Wellington Firebirds (@wgtnfirebirds) February 9, 2020
ND 249/9 (50) | LIVE SCORING https://t.co/sgESKCoZwD#WEAREWELLINGTONâšªï¸🔶âš«ï¸#FordTrophy pic.twitter.com/HmQm1v7Nh5
Without BLACKCAPS Hamish Bennett, Jimmy Neesham and Tom Blundell, it just wasn't the Firebirds' day as they stumbled at the last hurdle.
Captain Michael Bracewell (38) and allrounder Jamie Gibson (32) got starts but wickets to the ND spin attack meant the pressure mounted, the Firebirds dismissed for a flat 167 inside 43 overs to hand ND a sizeable victory.
Meanwhile, Canterbury beat the Stags to overtake the Firebirds for second spot while the Volts produced a thumping record victory over the Auckland Aces in Dunedin which proved just enough to edge ND out of the top three qualifying spots, on a marginal difference in net run rate countback after having finished level on points, number of wins and number of bonus points.
Joe Walker finished strong with 3-25 to end his white ball season on a good note, but it was a tough pill to swallow for both sides as they exited together in Whangarei.