Wellington Firebirds beat the Otago Volts by 3 wickets in Wellington
The Otago Volts have had meagre pickings from 2017/18 and at the Basin Reserve their luck wasn’t about to change.
The Southerners put together 272 after having been sent in, a team effort highlighted by captain Rob Nicol’s 40 at the top and 62 off just 48 balls from a recharged Jimmy Neesham.
When they had their hosts 62 for four in reply, all odds were surely on the visiting Volts. But cricket’s a funny game.
Captain Nicol had built a 62-run partnership with Shawn Hicks (37) for the second wicket and, at 99 for two, they were going well. Hicks looked good and should have gone on, but for some calamitous calling and running between the wickets that cost both Neil Broom’s and his own wicket, Broom walking back with just seven by his name.
Later, after Neesham had helped the Volts steady and settle, there would be a third big run out when Neil Wagner called Neesham through only for the capable Wagner to be left high and dry for just five runs.
Fortunately for the Volts it wouldn’t prove overly costly as the tail wagged and Matt Bacon (an unbeaten 21) and Jack Hunter (11) put on a valuable 32 for the last wicket.
Logan van Beek was the most successful for the hosts with the ball, three for 35 from his 9.2 overs, while leggie Peter Younghusband relished a rare start with one for 48 and Alex Ridley made a promising debut with his two for 49.
But there the Volts were after lunch with four of the Firebirds’ top five all back in the Vance Stand for barely a score, and surely in the driving seat.
They hadn’t reckoned on Malcolm Nofal, however, who steered the Volts back into the match with his maiden Ford Trophy century.
The left-hander in his rookie season for the Birds smashed 108 off 111 — seven boundaries and four sixes in the show-stopping display before the opener finally fell in the 39th over.
Too little support meant the Firebirds still had a task on their hands hauling in the required runs, but Peter Younghusband, who blasted away to an unbeaten maiden half century and Ollie Newton (35* off 29) then made sure the Firebirds got home in good time, sharing a quick 92-stand to keep their side in fourth spot on the points table, just ahead of the Volts on net run rate.
Both batsmen had slammed their List A career best in a new Wellington Firebirds eighth-wicket record against the Volts, beating the old mark of 50. The Firebirds now wait at the Basin for the Aces on Sunday while the Volts will face a stern test against the rampaging Central Stags in Invercargill.
- Alex Ridley debut match for Wellington Firebirds
- Matt Bacon List A debut
- Michael Bracewell became Neil Wagner's 150th List A wicket
- Malcolm Nofal highest List A score; previous best: 55; and first List A ton
- 8th wicket List A record partnership for Wellington Firebirds v Otago Volts. Previous best 50 by Harry Boam and Dewayne Bowden at Molyneux Park Alexandra in 2010/11
- Peter Younghusband highest List A score: previous best was 14
- Ollie Newton highest List A score: previous best 8*