Leo Carter helped set a record stand | MBUTCHER

Canterbury goes big with record-busters Nicholls, Carter

ROUND 9 of 10

CANTERBURY defeated CENTRAL STAGS by 183 runs - bonus point win

14 February 2024

Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Points: Canterbury 5, Central Stags 0



  • Henry Nicholls: 5000 List A career runs
  • Henry Nicholls: 8th List A century (seventh for Canterbury)
  • Leo Carter: 2nd List A century
  • Henry Nicholls and Leo Carter: List A third-wicket record for Canterbury (209, previous record 174 by Craig McMillan and Rod Latham at Lancaster Park, January 1995)
  • Doug Bracewell: List A career best score (94)
  • Canterbury: second highest winning margin (by runs)

Henry Nicholls | Canterbury Cricket Association

Last summer's frustrated Ford Trophy finalist Canterbury headed into this key match in second spot - with defending champion the Central Stags in third and eager to stay in the top three in an intense race for this year's Ford Trophy playoffs.

Canterbury came out of it with twin centuries, a new third-wicket record, a fourth bonus point win and the competition lead, with one round to go - while the Stags slid down the table on their backside.

Home captain Cole McConchie won the toss and batted in sunny, windy, conditions, the hosts soon into their work in a good battle for early ascendancy.

The Stags had been unable to train at the ground on the previous day after their kit bags arrived late, but on the plus side, key allrounder Doug Bracewell was on the plane, back from a T20 franchise sojourn in South Africa.

Bracewell immediately looked on target with the ball, but the Canterbury opening duo of Henry Nicholls and Chad Bowes would ease into their work, picking off enough four balls from his mates to get early traction.

They eyed the 15-over mark looking to stay intact, but at that moment Blair Tickner dug in a short one and tricked Bowes (42 off 45) into slapping a catch to the safe hands of Josh Clarkson at 73/1.

Tickner struck again with his very next delivery, getting movement off the seam as Mitch Hay was caught behind for a golden. It suddenly put Tickner, sitting on 2/23 off his first five, on a hat-trick at the start of his next over.

That wasn't to be, but he'd recovered to end a decent six-over spell with 6/24. Meanwhile, Nicholls was trucking nicely as Leo Carter joined him in the 15th, and spin coming into the attack.

With the team hundred on the board in the 22nd over, things already looked set for a high-scoring game.

By the time Canterbury was approaching the 40-over mark, they were still just two down. Nicholls was laying into Clarkson, the allrounder shouldering the load after Bracewell had come back for a short second spell, bowling the 30th before taking no further part in the attack.

The frustrated Stags had a big containment job to do at the death to stop the carnage, Nicholls having coasted to century at run-a-ball pace with a dozen boundaries and two sixes.

And, he now was carrying on for a big one. Carter had already reached a half century in support at 249/2 after 40 overs, their partnership having reached 176* with 10 to go - going past the Canterbury record.

The Stags would fight back at the death, but their problem was the damage was long since done.

Carter went onto a well earned hundred himself: 107 off 103 balls. The free-flowing Nicholls reached 138 off 123 before left-armer Ray Toole finally broke the huge stand, at 282/3.

Carter and Nicholls had poured on a mammoth 209 for the third wicket, now the new Canterbury record against all teams and the previous milestone - also against the Stags, way back in 1994/95 in the Shell Cup days at Lancaster Park - well surpassed. That had been a stand of 174 set by Craig McMillian and Rod Latham, so long ago that his son is now a senior BLACKCAP.

Once the centurions were out of the picture, Clarkson (4/60) picked up four wickets across two overs at the death, and he'd also had a hand in two catches. It couldn't stop the hosts from rolling through to 349/8 in their 50 overs: Canterbury's sixth highest one-day total in history.

The Stags would require a steep seven runs per over from the outset.

Nothing went to plan for Central who lost two early wickets inside the first five overs, with Fraser Sheat trapping the young Curtis Heaphy (who had clocked up three half centuries in his first List A season) and Zak Foulkes finding captain Dane Cleaver's edge a few balls later at 7/2.

More disaster followed when Clarkson, trying to hook Zak Foulkes, was caught behind and Brad Schmulian, fresh off his maiden century in Napier, followed two balls later, a second wicket for Sheat at 13/4 and a wicket maiden.


By the end of the 16th over, the Stags were in a shambles at 42/6. Michael Rippon had just dismissed Will Clark, while Ed Nuttall had got the better of Bayley Wiggins in the previous over.

Ajaz Patel joined Bracewell with a monumental job to do to spare the Stags' blushes. They peeled 13 off the next over as Bracewell carved a six, but it still hardly dented the asking rate that was now approaching 10 per over.

Rippon yorked Patel at 81/7, while Bracewell threw caution to the win and lashed more sixes off the spinners to get his team to the respectability of three figures, at least. He's reached a quick 50* by slamming Rippon over the rope, back-to-back.

Ish Sodhi wasn't the easiest to get away, but before long he had a six off him, too, and suddenly Bracewell was on an unbeaten 80* from just 65 balls - equalling his highest List A score.

But the situation was hopeless, with the Stags needing their last 200 runs at 12 an over, and only three wickets in hand. This round was going to shake the table up, and not in their favour, and it was going to be tough to deny Canterbury a bonus point after their big effort.

Bracewell kept going like a one-man show, taking his side past 150 in the 35th.


He larroped another six to take himself into the 90s, but just when it seemed the Stags might have another maiden centurion, he was gone next ball for 94 after he swung again, only for an incensed Zak Foulkes (who produced 3/25 off eight overs) to have his revenge: caught after 85 balls, six boundaries, and six sixes.

From there, it was all over bar the shouting for the defending champs, who could have pushed their qualification chances had the boot been on the other foot. Gus McKenzie quickly wrapped it up, bundling out the Stags for 166 for a 183-run bonus point win, inside 40 overs.

That was Canterbury's second highest winning margin (by runs), with only 2021/22's mammoth 216-run victory over Auckland ahead of it.

Canterbury was now the king of the table, with a two-point lead over Northern Districts. If they could add to that in the final round this weekend, the home Final would be theirs. The Stags, meanwhile, would now need a bonus point win in the last round to have any chance of qualifying.






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