NORTHERN DISTRICTS v CENTRAL STAGS
7 November 2018
Result: Northern Districts won by 25 runs
Guy Fawkes came a couple of days late this year to Hamilton as Northern Districts produced a win to remember at their home ground Seddon Park — a victory that included a maiden century, record sixth-wicket stand, and a new List A world record for the highest number of runs slammed off a single over.
The unfortunate bowler was 21-year-old Central Stags right-armer Willem Ludick who in just his fourth Ford Trophy appearance came up against a determined Joe Carter and ballistic hard-hitter Brett Hampton.
Ludick’s nightmare was Carter’s dream as the 25-year-old batsman from Bay of Plenty, looking to resuscitate his career after four indifferent seasons for ND in the format, slaughtered his way to a maiden Ford Trophy century from just 76 balls (4x4, 8x6). It was one of two maiden centuries on the eventful day, the other an unbeaten 120 from young Central Stag Dean Foxcroft that kept the opponents in with half a chance.
Carter’s eight sixes in his unbeaten 102 included three lusty bombs off the final three balls of the 46th over, bowled by an incredulous Ludick. ND was helped by a couple of dropped catches in the field, both Carter and Hampton having been dropped off, you guessed it, Ludick, earlier in their innings — Carter having been put down by Greg Hay on 30 when the hosts were 165 for five.
Often utilised as a pinch-hitter in the shortest format, fellow Bay of Plenty rep Brett Hampton had already dished out three sixes of his own from the over that would go down in the scorebook as: 4 (a yorker played for a streaky French cut that ran off to the rope) 6 + 1nb 6 + 1nb 6 1 6 6 and 6 for a grand sum of 43 — the two no-balls awarded for consecutive beamers as the young bowler lost his length whilst striving for more yorkers to stem the damage.
Having received a warning for the first full toss, the second was not deemed by the umpires to be dangerous to the batsman and the bowler was consequently allowed to continue the over.
The extras helped bump the tally up and over the previous List A world record of 39 that had been set by Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura against Bangladesh’s Alauddin Babu in a league match in Dhaka in 2013.
Carter and Hampton both slammed Ludick out of the ground onto the Seddon Road tarseal with Carter playing several outrageous shots square of the wicket as their imperious sixth wicket stand took off.
Each was lucky to still be there, having both been dropped in the field by Ludick's teammates.
Remarkably, the Central Stags had been right in the game before the duo stole the show — and that was despite Stags captain Doug Bracewell having made a nightmarish start of his own with an 11-ball over including five wides to open the innings after he had finally won a toss this season and sent ND in. Soon after, an appeal for a catch off a Devcich thick edge to slip was turned down.
It was that kind of day, when not everything would go your way in a contest between two teams with a growing rivalry.
Bracewell recovered his poise, and his youthful side had had ND listing at 95 for five — Bracewell having trapped Anton Devcich just one ball after ND’s veteran off-spinning allrounder had clocked up a half century at run-a-ball pace.
Enter Hampton, joining a batsman who had scored just 285 runs from his previous 16 List A innings. They would boom their way to a 178-run partnership off 126 balls, breaking the 6th wicket record between the two teams that had stood at 150, set by current and former BLACKCAPS BJ Watling and Pete McGlashan in Whangarei in 2010/11.
Hampton, who had never scored a century for ND in any format, had looked a dead-set cert for a maiden century of his own, but holed out to a simple catch in the deep off Bracewell when he was just one swing of the bat away, on 95.
Still, his innings — off just 66 balls, including five fours and six sixes — would go down in the record books, and had done the job for his team.
Carter carried on at the death with Peter Bocock and then Joe Walker who each had a license to swing hard as ND ended up with a superb 313 for seven off the full 50 overs — Carter making it to three figures just in the nick of time, his 102 carved from just 77 deliveries.
It was never going to threaten the record total between the sides — set at the same ground where former Stags opener Jamie How had blasted the only Ford Trophy double century to date, accompanied by Jeet Raval with his maiden century, as the pair set up a record tally of 417 in the scorching summer of 2012/13. However, it was still the eighth-equal best effort of all time from Northern Districts in List A cricket.
A maiden unbeaten century to 20-year-old Dean Foxcroft in just his second List A appearance was the highlight of the Stags’ game chase. The burly former South Africa Under-19 World Cup captain, now based in Hawke’s Bay, finished unbeaten on 120* off 105 balls (8x4, 4x6) as the Stags fell 25 runs short.
A total of 22 sixes were hit in the match, Northern Districts first win in The Ford Trophy this season lifting them from last on the points table, the position now occupied by today’s opponents.
Remarkably, the Central Stags team in this match featured just one player who had taken the field for them in February this year, in last summer's Grand Final: captain Doug Bracewell.