A whole new ball game for Andrew Ellis. PHOTOSPORT

Night ball cricket comes to Eden Park


Canterbury declared ahead of play at Eden Park on their day one score of 305 for eight, but with two full days lost to rain a drawn result was always the likely destination for the first pink-ball match at the venue.

Overcast skies had greeted the teams with play finally restarting at 1:30pm.

Aces openers Michael Guptill-Bunce and Robbie O’Donnell started well, putting on 49 for the first wicket before Guptill-Bunce was bowled by leg-spinner Todd Astle, who was on his way to his 12th first-class five-wicket bag.

The top three for the Aces all got starts, but weren’t able to kick on, the mainstay of the innings proving to be a 119-run stand between Rob Nicol and Ben Horne for the sixth wicket.

Both captain Nicol and the young Horne batted with patience, waiting on and dispatching the bad ball ruthlessly until both fell just short of first-class centuries in the final hours of the match.

Nicol was first to go for 89 off 186 balls when we missed a straight one and was given out lbw to Henry Shipley. Horne pressed on, finding the fence with some inventive strokeplay that included 11 fours and two sixes before he was bowled by Astle on 93, seven short of what had loomed as a maiden first-class ton.

The Aces tail didn’t stick around, the home side bowled out in exactly 100 overs for 333, the stumps pulled after the final wicket at night. Astle not only celebrated a five-for but his 300th first-class wicket when he trapped Mitch McClenaghan for no score.


The rain has stayed away and the boys are ready to go for Day 4! Hoping for a few early wickets here at Eden Park 👊🏼

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Play was again washed out without a ball bowled. Weather permitting, play will start at 1:30pm on day four to make up time.


Play was washed out without a ball bowled.

Weather permitting, play will start at 1:30pm on day three to make up time.


The first historic night of Plunket Shield pink-ball cricket at Eden Park saw honours fairly even between visitors Canterbury and hosts the Auckland Aces after the visitors headed in at 305/8 on night one in round seven.

The opening session had started in sensational fashion for the home side, Lockie Ferguson picking up a wicket in the opening over before Donovan Grobbelaar grabbed an early one to have the visitors 0/2.

Colin Munro is back causing more trouble with the ball

Colin Munro then nabbed two of his own to have Canterbury in real trouble at 25 four four.

However, captain Andrew Ellis dug in alongside the young Ken McClure. From ‘tea’ at 67 for four, the pair saw their side through to the ‘dinner’ break with no further damage in the wickets column, ending the second session at 154 for four.

Ellis reached his ton after the break as Canterbury began to get away but, once he was finally dismissed for 103, the Aces sniffed an opening.

Wickets either side of the new ball brought the home side back into the contest, Munro adding another scalp to his tally to finish with figures of 3/40 from his 13 overs.

Lower order dasher Tim Johnston gave the Aucklanders some late night grief, swatting a few to the fence in a quickfire 43, but when he departed the scoring slowed as the first night of pink-ball cricket came to a close.


Play begins at 2.30pm and entry at Eden Park is free all day (and night).


•  First-class debut for Glenn Phillips (Auckland Aces)
•  Andrew Ellis: 8th first-class century (all for Canterbury)
• Record first-class 5th-wicket partnership of 183 for Canterbury v Auckland Aces by Eliis and McClaure (previously stood at 171 by Dean Brownlie and Reece Young at Rangiora 2011/12)

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