Northern Districts defeated the Wellington Firebirds by five wickets at Whangarei’s Cobham Oval
ND got their 2017/18 Ford Trophy campaign off to a thrilling start in the first of two back-to-back home matches in Northland by downing last year’s beaten finalists the Firebirds with just one ball to spare.
It had been a team effort by the Firebirds to post 263 for eight after captain Hamish Bennett opted to bat in his Firebirds captaincy debut match, while Tim Southee picked up 3-50 for ND.
However, in response, a classy century at the top from BJ Watling (115 off 132, his eighth List A century before he was painfully run out after being struck by cramp in the middle of a run), supported by Nick Kelly’s 56 at first drop, put ND in a position to nail a good chase, but one that would ultimately go down to the wire.
Form wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert came to ND's rescue late in proceedings, finishing the job off in a nerve-wracking final over with his unbeaten 51.
The Firebirds will head to Dunedin looking for their first win on Wednesday, while ND now awaits the arrival of the Central Stags for their round two contest; Cobham Oval gates will open at 10am.