OTAGO VOLTS v CENTRAL STAGS
University of Otago Oval
4 November 2018
Result: Otago Volts won by 16 runs (DLS method)
When the Volts and Stags had met in the first round in Nelson, the Volts had let the Stags out of jail. There was no such escape this time as Round Four of The Ford Trophy brought the two sides to a blustery Dunedin for the southerners’ first home match of the 2018/19 one-day comp.
After the hosts had won the toss and opted to bat, strong winds destined to play havoc with the bowling, there was an extensive wait for the match to get underway, the first of several showers arriving just as players had walked out to the middle, the game later reduced to 40 and then 32 overs by the innings break.
The Stags would ultimately be chasing a DLS adjusted target of 211 after restricting the Volts to 208 for seven, at a tick over run a ball.
The tables were turned this time, with the Volts getting the get-out-of-jail-free card after thumping young batsman Josh Clarkson and Stags captain Doug Bracewell had looked set to take the game away from them, peeling 17 off one over from Nathan Smith.
Power-packed Clarkson, who scored his maiden List A century last season in a more measured innings in Auckland, was back to his default mode of booming the ball long and deep, three sixes in sent flying in the 21-year-old’s 34-ball half century, the third of the bombs posting his midway milestone.
Almost 25 overs in, he had the game in his hands as he and Bracewell kept the Stags in the fray, looking for the boundaries with 64 more runs needed off 7.1 overs.
Captain Bracewell had pummelled his way to 34* off just 23 balls, while Clarkson was 64* off just 50, the Volts having tried for an hour to get rid of the dangerous striker.
Captain Jacob Duffy came back on and had just gone for 10 off the first four balls of the 25th when the pivotal moment arrived, Clarkson swatting a well-directed uppish delivery straight to Josh Finnie in the deep.
The Stags were 147 for five and still a chance with Bracewell’s experience at the crease but, just three balls later, the Stags captain would also be walking back, caught and bowled by Michael Rippon.
It was the critical juncture and from there the Volts were back on top as they brought home a much wanted second win in an up-and-down season against the fresh-look Stags.
Earlier, Volts veteran Neil Broom had played the key role in setting up a defendable DLS total.
Broom anchored the innings from first drop with a knock of 68 from 58 balls, sharing an aggressive 80-run stand with Anaru Kitchen (42), with their initial 50 having been crunched off just 32 rocks.
It was an important recovery after young allrounder Willem Ludick had broken the opening stand in the 11th over, before two quick wickets to 20-year-old spinner Felix Murray pegged the Volts back to 80 for three.
Ludick charged on to 2-27 when he picked up Kitchen in an impressive and combative display, while Doug Bracewell eventually stopped Broom on 68 at the death. Left-armer Ben Wheeler, in his first appearance since off season spinal fusion surgery, also picked up a two-for at the death, but the Stags walked off knowing the Volts’ strike rate had got away on them somewhat in an innings of several rain interruptions.
The match saw the List A debut of former South Africa Under-19 captain Dean Foxcroft who had captained Ludick at the 2016 ICC U19 World Cup, and he shared a 53-run stand with another youngster at that tournament, Clarkson, in his first knock of 13 before an excellent stumping by ex-Stag and CD A colleague Mitch Renwick.
For the Volts, spinner Rippon grabbed three for 43 while Matt Bacon was key as he knocked the top off in his three for 35.
The win lifted the Volts to fourth on the table, and they now remain at University of Otago Oval to host Canterbury this Wednesday, with co-captain Mark Craig still under a back injury cloud. The Stags will meanwhile head to Hamilton’s Seddon Park to try to get their campaign restarted against the winless Northern Districts, the only team below them on the table.