All images: PHOTOSPORT

Final fling: Canterbury and the Stags have history

This Tuesday's free admission one-day Ford Trophy Final pits two classic rivals against each other in Napier.

The Central Stags versus Canterbury in a Ford Trophy national final. Sound familiar? It should do. These two teams have made regular appearances in the men's one-day final over the last two decades.

Here's some recent history.

2012: A classic match in the Final. Central Stags qualified top of the table and won the title in fairytale fashion against the Auckland Aces. It was iconic Stags paceman Michael Mason's last game, and with his team in a tight chase, out of nowhere he smashed a career best 41 not out off 19 balls alongside Marty Kain - including 20 off the penultimate over to leave the Stags needing six off the last over. Mason hit the winning runs with one ball the spare and the Pukekura Park crowd erupted!

All images: PHOTOSPORT

2013: Canterbury made the Final but lost to the Auckland Aces in the Auckland Final by three wickets, in a low-scoring game that saw Canterbury rolled in the 35th over of the first innings.

2014: Canterbury qualified top of the table, but ended up missing the Final after being beaten in the four-team knockout system of the time.

2015: Central Stags had qualified top of the table; ended up taking the long route to the Final through the four-team knockout system, then beat the Auckland Aces for the title at Colin Maiden Park by 73 runs. Stags legend Jamie How scored a duck in his final game while Andrew Mathieson took 4/22.

2016: The Stags qualified top and hosted a classic Final against Canterbury at Pukekura Park. Central won by 156 runs despite a century from Canterbury captain Andrew Ellis. George Worker had earlier set up a huge total of 405/6 with his 159, allowing Tom Bruce to come in and smash the fastest one-day fifty in Stags history (71 off 23 balls).

2017: A special one for the red and blacks who, despite having regularly been in contention, had devloped a long-running title drought in this format. Now Canterbury got across the line, beating the Wellington Firebirds in the entertaining Final by 28 runs - after the Firebirds had eliminated the Stags. In his last game, Canterbury legend Peter Fulton, who is now the team's coach, scored what was then the fastest Ford Trophy century - off just 50 balls, beating Brendon McCullum's record. Fulton finished on 116 not out. Last summer (2022), Ross Taylor finally broke Fulton's record by one ball, for the Stags.

2018: Central Stags qualified top - but lost their home Pukekura Park final to the Auckland Aces by 6 wickets.

2020: Canterbury made the top three, but were eliminated by the Otago Volts in the 2v3 Final by just six runs, despite a Jack Boyle century. This season (2022/23), they reversed that result in the Eliminator, but Boyle now represents the Stags.

2021: Canterbury qualified top - and beat Northern Districts by 8 wickets in the Final with five overs to spare. Henry Nicholls scored a century in a match played under lights at Hagley Oval.

2022: Central Stags qualified top - and had their only dud game in the Final, succumbing to the Auckland Aces by 8 wickets with nearly 14 overs untouched, in a closed-gate match due to pandemic restrictions.

So that's the tale of the tape, now who will write the next chapter, this week?

The Central Stags are heading in as the top qualifier for the second year running, but will be eager to deliver a more convincing performance for their home supporters in Hawke's Bay - where gates open for the free admission finale at 10am on Tuesday 28 March.

Canterbury took the long route to the cyclone-postponed Grand Final, but comfortably defeated the Otago Volts in Queenstown's Eliminator. Both sides have since lost several top performers to the BLACKCAPS and Canterbury will be without regular opener and outstanding fielder Chad Bowes - who scored a century in the Eliminator - now that he's a BLACKCAPS rookie playing on the biggest stage of all.

Tuesday's 2023 Grand Final will be livescored as well as livestreamed here at, on NZC YouTube and on the NZC app from 11am, with expert live commentary and multiple camera angles.

Buckle your seats!






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