New-look Volts need one more win. PHOTOSPORT

Ford Focus on: Otago Volts


2018/19 GRAND FINAL

11am THIS SATURDAY AT UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO OVAL

Admission: $10 Adults $5 Junior at the gate

LIVE ON SKY SPORT and RADIO SPORT

In for a Dunner Stunner? MBUTCHER


The Otago Volts last lifted The Ford Trophy in…. wait…. it will come to us soon.

Recent Winners

2018/19 .... Find out today!
2017/18  Auckland Aces
2016/17  Canterbury
2015/16  Central Stags
2014/15  Central Stags
2013/14  Wellington Firebirds
2012/13  Auckland Aces
2011/12  Central Stags
2010/11  Auckland Aces
2009/10  Northern Districts

It’s been that long. Eleven years long — aha, 2007/08! And that was only the second time they’d ever done it, New Zealand’s national men’s one-day trophy first making a trip to the deep south back in 1987/88.

So this is a special year. Otago and Southland folks certainly hope so. It’s been an exciting season so far for the lads in blue and gold, a massive turnaround from the last couple of summers when they finished at the wrong end of the pile.

Just being in the Grand Final is an achievement in that context, but one more win would be electrifying.

MBUTCHER

They qualified top, they’ve got the home advantage, but they’re still going to have to beat a team that pundits point to as having been more consistent overall, and are perhaps more hard-nosed and experienced around the unique pressures of Domestic Finals.

This season, under new co-captains and with a fresh new team approach, the Otago Volts started with a wobble against the Central Stags in Nelson, a match they shoulda, coulda won.

PHOTOSPORT

They thought about that one, picked themselves up and stormed back to drub ND by nine wickets — then took a big battering at the Basin from their imminent opponents in the Grand Final.

It was a rocky road with three away matches to kick them off, but after that bumpy start to the 2018/19 campaign they got themselves back home and onto a spectacular winning roll — four victories on the bounce, equalling the local record, and ultimately took more wins than any other team from the regular season.

The loss of Hamish Rutherford to New Zealand A, after he’d blitzed a couple of big hundreds, could have been destabilising as they looked to cement their spot, but the side handled the transition to their new world order well, and the only real question now is how will they handle the hometown pressure on the day.

Keeping it chilled: the Volts finished their Final training week with a recovery sesh at Moana Pool. NZC

They've had a week of waiting for the big day, and just the one match in the last 12 days.

But given the historical rarity of opportunities to compete for The Ford Trophy, a longtime Southern man like Broom is going to be psyched up big-time to finally get his hands on it and do it for O-taaaa-gooooo. Because who wants to wait another 10 or 20 years?

VOLTS STORY SO FAR 


Won: 7


Lost: 3

Lost to Central Stags by 37 runs in Nelson
Beat ND by 9 wickets in Hamilton
Lost to Wellington Firebirds by a record 193 runs in Wellington
Beat Central Stags by 16 runs in Dunedin
Beat Canterbury by 62 runs in Dunedin
Beat the Wellington Firebirds by 7 runs in Dunedin
Beat Auckland Aces by 3 wickets in Lincoln
Lost to ND by seven wickets in Lincoln
Beat Canterbury by 4 wickets in Christchurch
Beat the Auckland Aces by 3 runs in Invercargill

TOP PERFORMERS

BATTING

Hamish Rutherford, gone to New Zealand A but not forgotten. 7 games, 393 runs which still tops the Volts’ hit-list even now, and The Ford Trophy’s highest score this summer of 154. Top order, top man, two centuries, too good. Will be hating missing this one. Sigh.

Neil Broom. 10 games, 355 runs and as Jimmy Neesham said, the head of the snake without Ruds there. Big match experience, power and patience if required makes Broom a big wicket. Averaging just a shade under 40 with three half centuries and one red-inker.

Mitch Renwick. 10 games, 259 runs in his first summer with the Volts after occasional appearances for the Central Stags in a previous life. Took up the gloves full-time for the first time at this level (16 dismissals), so a busy workload to open the innings as well. One half-ton with the bat.

Josh Finnie. 10 games, 229 runs and most of them going off like fireworks on New Year’s Eve. 14 sixes is the second highest clobbered by any player in this season’s Ford Trophy (behind only Jimmy Neesham) and the young man’s strike rate is up there at 115.65. Two half centuries and more to the point can win a game at the death, with a few wickets in hand around him.

Michael Rippon. 218 runs from eight games and a very challenging allrounder on his day. His unbeaten 71* is a reminder to the Firebirds not to let him get away, the strike rate just a touch under run a ball and like Finnie potentially damaging if he hangs around.

Brad Wilson. Not a bad bloke to have come in for Rutherford with an ocean of experience but never — until this season — a List A century. A match-winning 126 sorted that out among 165 runs from four starts.

Nathan Smith. Moderate contributor, but, as they say, something about him and a good partnership with Renwick in Lincoln. The coach backed the 20-year-old to go up the order, it’s coming off OK so far — got 42 batting at four last game in Invercargill against the Aces, and a score of 71 a couple of games before that. Watch this space.

Wild card: Christi Viljoen. If we dare mention it, he’s technically top of the Volts’ batting averages with 88 runs from six innings; more significantly, they tend to be boundaries or over the rope at the death. Ideally Volts won’t want to rely on the lower order however.

BOWLING

Jacob Duffy, Jacob Duffy and Jacob Duffy. His 22 wickets at 19.77 with the best strike rate in the team stands out. Still just 24, he’s led from the front, bowled a lot of overs and been super greedy with two five-wicket bags (6-35 and 5-38 being the two best hauls by anyone any team; 4-29 wasn’t shabby either). The burden of tossing the coin doesn’t seem to be messing at all with his line and length. Greedy in the field too, seven catches to date. Big season for the Southern Volt.

Michael Rippon. 12 wickets from 8 games at a tidy economy rate and always the x-factor with his left-arm unorthodox spin. With Mark Craig’s injury seeing him step out of the mixer early doors in this campaign, his role has taken on even more importance.

Matt Bacon has stepped up his contribution this summer with 16 wickets from 9 games. Can get hit, but charges in with an exciting, confrontational style.

Nathan Smith. See above — 11 wickets, useful, and "there’s something about him". Like Duffy, dependable i.e. can keep on trucking without losing the accuracy.

This Saturday's Ford Trophy Grand Final for New Zealand’s first major title of the cricketing summer between the Otago Volts and Wellington Firebirds begins at University of Otago Oval at 11am. Not in Otago? Watch all the action LIVE with SKY Sport, coverage from 10.45am.

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