Canterbury 356/3 in 50 overs (Henry Nicholls 178, Neil Broom 117) beat Wellington Firebirds 271 all out in 47.1 overs (James Franklin 102, Hamish Bennett 3-40, Logan van Beek 3-51) by 85 runs at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
Young Canterbury opener Henry Nicholls’ maiden century was one for the record books - he smashed 178 from 161 balls, alongside teammate Neil Broom who made 117 from 115 - the two innings and their partnership would dominate the match.
Opener Ronnie Hira missed out, going in the second over for one, to make way for Nicholls and Broom's 297 run partnership, which is the highest New Zealand 50 over partnership for the second wicket, and Canterbury’s highest partnership for any wicket.
Nicholls brought up his century from 113 balls, then put his foot down, finishing on 178, including 27 fours and three sixes. He went in the 46th over, caught by Matt McEwan from the bowling of part-timer Matt Taylor, followed by Broom the next over for 117, caught by Luke Woodcock from Dane Hutchinson.
Watch how Henry Nicholls made his maiden Ford Trophy century, Canterbury's highest ever List A score:
Brendon Diamanti (23) and Peter Fulton (20) tormented the Firebirds bowlers, who had taken severe punishment with Brent Arnel conceding 90 from his ten overs, at the death to get Canterbury up to an imposing 356 from their 50 overs.
In reply, James Franklin made a captain’s knock of 102 in a valiant effort to lead his side home but, Stephen Murdoch aside, he received precious little support.
Hamish Bennett (3-40) removed both openers cheaply to set the Firebirds on the back foot immediately and, despite a good period through the mid order, the hosts never looked likely.
Tom Blundell’s departure at 226/5 sparked a mini-collapse, with the Firebirds losing four wickets for 19 runs to knock the stuffing out of their chase, including Franklin, to his frustration.
Arnel was the last man to lose his wicket in the 48th over to give Canterbury the win by 85 runs. The result has the defending champion Firebirds rooted to the foot of the table, and leaves Canterbury with a sniff of sneaking into the top four.