Allrounder Sean Solia reached his first double ton | PHOTOSPORT

Solia Flair

Video Highlights





Kennards Hire Community Oval, Auckland

15-18 November, 2023



Total points this round:

Auckland Aces : 7

Wellington Firebirds : 5


Sean Solia : Capatincy debut

Sean Solia : Third first-class century and first double century

Sean Solia: Career-best first-class batting

Will O'Donnell : Fourth first-class century

Louis Delport : Fourth first-class bag

Garth Severin : Second first-class century

All images: PHOTOSPORT

Standing in as Aces captain, Sean Solia produced the knock of his career against the Firebirds - who headed into this round as the joint leaders with Northern Districts. After a string of lacklustre performances, he ensured the Aucklanders reasserted themselves in the Plunket Shield, but would there be time for a valuable result?


Wet weather was forecast for the last round before Christmas but it did not stop plenty of entertainment at the outer oval in Sandringham. Sean Solia won his first toss as captain, standing in for Robbie O'Donnell who had injured himself while bowling his golden arm pace in the previous round.

Opposing skipper Nick Kelly was invited to bowl, and it would be the start of a long time in the dirt for the visitors as the new Aces captain set about constructing a mammoth first innings.

The opening morning had been slightly rain-delayed but, by lunch, Solia and Will O'Donnell were underway, at 85/0. By tea, the Firebirds still hadn't taken a wicket as that became 189 for no loss.

Both batsmen had reached their half tons in what was already a century stand for the first wicket, and now closing in on a double century stand.

The more typically aggressive O'Donnell was the first to raise his bat for a century, reaching the mark off 224 balls, in 284 minutes with 13 boundaries and two sixes.

Solia was meanwhile into his 80s as they chalked up the two hundred stand shortly afterwards.

Capitalising before the arrival of the new ball, Solia celebrated his own century in the same session, but the Firebirds had finally got some reward of their own, with James Hartshorn finally ending O'Donnell's five-hour shift at 209/1, on 102.

But the Aces already had all of the initiative in their back pocket. Quinn Sunde settled in before the end of the day with a quick unbeaten 31* while Solia was set to carry on in the morning from 114 not out, the Aces sitting pretty at 267/1.


It was Solia's big day. His first double century, commanding from the top as the Aces laid down an impressive first innings total.

Grinding the Firebirds down, he reached 150 before lunch, although with just three of the four available first innings batting bonuses by the 110-over mark, by which time the Aces were 304/3.

Meanwhile, Nathan Smith was starting to get some dividends at the bowling crease. Sunde had been an early loss, Finn Allen came and went but George Worker had stayed with Solia for almost two hours as the other left-hander went past 50 himself, at a racy pace.

They put on 116 together for the fourth, but Worker was lost before lunch, by which time all eyes were on Solia, still there on 175 not out.

He would bat for the best part of five sessions against the unbeaten Firebirds, finally departing in the middle session for his career best 206. More than 10 hours of mastery at the crease from the superbly fit allrounder, before Peter Younghusband finally enticed a catch when the hosts were 475/6.

Soliad declared the innings when his men reached 500, eight down.

Solia's previous career best was 151, last summer, against the same opponent, at Auckland's other home ground, Colin Maiden Park. He was then selected for the New Zealand A home and away twin series against Australia A, scoring 91 in the New Zealand A win in Brisbane in August.

It had been a good year.

Now they wanted to finish a good day, the Firebirds getting their first innings response started before the tea break.

Openers Callum McLachlan and Nick Greenwood both got starts, with Greenwood going on to 55. But by stumps, both had departed thanks to the showman spinner Louis Delport, who was just getting revved up for a big performance.

Gareth Severin and Nick Kelly would be the men to resume at 129 for two.


Delport the destroyer did it again, on another rain-interrupted, stop-start day.

But it was also Severin's day as he ignored the interruptions and ensured the Firebirds fought back, avoiding anything calamitous. By lunch, he had lost a few partners at 277/6, but had a potential century in his sights as he headed in on 74*.

The last session was a key one, and he stayed put for the vast majority of it - getting his well earned hundred - while dangerman Delport was meanwhile hunting a bag.

Gareth Severin scored a patient ton of his own | PHOTOSPORT

Who else but Delport finally dismissed Severin, to usher in stumps at the end of the day.

Cam Fletcher had snatched a feathered edge that not only brought Severin's marathon stint to a close on 143, off 253 deliveries, but the fifth dismissal of the innings for the keeper, three of them off Delport.

The spinner meanwhile had got greedy: he now had 6/91.

The Firebirds ended the day still trailing by 127 with just the one wicket in hand now, at 343/9, and obviously still trailing by a fair margin. Just a sniff away from a fourth bowling bonus however, needing seven more runs, if the weather would behave for long enough on a wet fourth day.


Another overcast morning greeted the teams, but the local weather was about to play ball, kind of. It was a long day. An early lunch was taken, then tea, with no further play, and surely no time to get anything more than a draw.

But as the match had amply demonstrated, patience is a virtue.

In the final session, a handful of overs were possible, and it was just enough time for the Firebirds to get their fourth batting bonus, Hartshorn cutting Delport for four.

The Aces already had the maximum bowling bonuses and that was enough for everyone as the umpires and captains called it quits.

It had been a match full of statchat, but with the winless Aces still anchored to the bottom of the table on just 17 points from four games - and ND meanwhile snatching a victory in Dunedin to claim the outright lead at the midway mark of the summer. The Firebirds sat in second spot, still unbeaten but trailing ND by 11 points, with defending champions the Central Stags now breathing down their neck.






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