Ben Smith is in career-best Ford Trophy form | Images: PHOTOSPORT

Stags strike back in Saxton runfest




• Saxton Oval, Nelson


All of Sunday's losing sides struck back today with much needed Ford Trophy wins in the seventh round of a tight 10-round one-day regular season, the Auckland Aces moving back into the lead over Canterbury at the top of the table.


A Saxton Oval runfest saw Central Stags captain Ben Smith plunder a career-best unbeaten 149 off just 151 balls in his 50th List A match, breaking the Stags' record second-wicket stand with George Worker - who had the bittersweet experience of registering his second List A 99 in the space of two seasons, after his 99 for New Zealand A against India A last summer.


Worker batted into the 42nd over on a hot Nelson afternoon, both batsmen having reached the nineties in near unison before Smith raised his ton off 118 balls. Worker was poised to join him when he was bowled by Dean Foxcroft at 226 for two, his only consolation a new second-wicket Stags record against allcomers of 224, breaking the mark he had set with Jesse Ryder three seasons ago in Whangarei.


It was Smith's second List A career hundred, both tons scored this season after his maiden in the opening round, against Canterbury. He batted through almost the entirety of the innings after having been sent in by new Volts captain Mitch Renwick, who stood in for Nick Kelly on the day with Kelly having taken ill.


Sixes then began raining over a sweltering Saxton Oval as Stags veteran Kieran Noema-Barnett hit a career best for the second time in as many matches against the Otago Volts with a ballistic, unbeaten 81* flying off just 31 balls.


Noema-Barnett went on to a rare career-best double in the same List A match, pocketing 3-26 with the ball in as he wrapped up the Volts' chase alongside Worker (3-64).


Despite another career-best century (138 off 141 balls) in reply for classy Foxcroft against his former teammates, the Volts went down by 55 runs in a high-scoring match that produced 635 runs, but Foxcroft ensured they denied the Stags a bonus point.


Despite sitting at the bottom of the table, the Stags are now just two points behind the fourth- and fifth-placed Firebirds and Northern Districts, and, only three points behind the Volts who have a vulnerable grip on third on an intriguingly tight table.

The Stags will host the top of the table Aces at Pukekura Park on Sunday while the Volts head back home to University of Otago Oval to host ND.

With Thanks To

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