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Perfect start to Plunket Shield for Firebirds

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Wellington Firebirds have got their Plunket Shield campaign off to a flier with an eight-wicket victory over the Otago Volts, with a day to spare.

The Firebirds collected the maximum 20 points for their trouble after chasing down a meagre target of 47 to clinch victory this afternoon, after having dismissed the Otago Volts for 219 in the second innings.

Volts captain Jacob Duffy finished with nine wickets for the match after his career-best seven-wicket bag the previous day, while former Central Stags batsman Dean Foxcroft produced his maiden first-class half century on his Volts debut.

However, stats were scant consolation for a bruising loss, and the Volts will be eager to get their campaign back on track in their first home match next week, when the Auckland Aces will travel to meet them in Dunedin.


Close of play: ND 392/5 (first innings)

Bonus points (completed): Canterbury 4 batting, Northern Districts 3 bowling, Canterbury 2 bowling, Northern Districts 4 batting

Centuries to both Tim Seifert and Daryl Mitchell provided the highlights at Hagley Oval as ND responded in kind to Canterbury's strong opening day assault with the bat.

By the end of the third day ND hold a tiny two-run lead, with one day remaining in the match.

Wet weather had delayed all three matches around New Zealand on "moving day", play finally getting back underway at Hagley after lunch. Having resumed on 85, it left no time to waste for Seifert who raised his bat for his fifth first-class century, off 154 balls in 241 minutes and including 13 boundaries.

Seifert combined well with Mitchell, the pair ticking of a 50-stand for the fifth wicket in just 72 balls, before Mitchell reached his half ton. A further 24 runs were pasted on by the pair before Will Williams finally broke a threatening stand, Seifert caught behind on 119.

From 221 for four, Mitch Santner took up the partnership duties in the hour before tea. He remained at his post throughout the final session, reaching an unbeaten half century (54- off 70) in an unbeaten 88-run stand with Mitchell. Mitchell's seventh first-class century arrived off 193 balls after more than four and a half hours at the crease, heading in unbeaten on 112-.


Close of play: Central Stags all out 169 (68.3 overs), Auckland Aces 134/7 (63 overs)

Bonus points (completed): Stags 4 bowling, Aces 1 batting, Aces 4 bowling, Stags 0 batting

The Central Stags returned serve with a vengeance at Eden Park Outer Oval, taking just 8.3 overs to rip out the Auckland Aces's first four wickets of the second innings on a blustery third afternoon.

Bowling round the wicket to the left-handers with the wind behind him, Seth Rance raced to 3-17, with Martin Guptill, Jeet Raval and Sean Solia all back in the tent while left-armer Ben Wheeler had meanwhile enticed a catch from Glenn Phillips to have the hosts 25 for four.

By tea, the Aces were in further strife after Willem Ludick had trapped captain Robbie O'Donnell just before the break at 47/5 - a lead of just 88 for the hosts heading into a tough final session.

After the Aces' disastrous start to their second innings, Mark Chapman and Ben Horne began to graft a sixth-wicket partnership in the late afternoon to try to grow a workable lead.

After seeing off Seth Rance who continued to be challenging around the wicket, they had Ajaz Patel and Blair Tickner to contend with. A big appeal had just been turned down off Tickner against Chapman on 31, but the next ball left no room for doubt, Chapman playing on at 72 for 6.

Kyle Jamieson made a confident start, driving Patel for six early doors before getting his team's 100 on the board with 18 overs remaining in the day. His stay would prove short, however, leaving Horne and Will Somerville to hold the fort until stumps, by which time the Aces' lead had stretched to 172 thanks largely to the wicketkeeper-batsman's vigilant 39-.

Earlier, the Aces had dismissed the Stags for 169 to inflict a first-innings deficit of 41 runs. After another weather-delayed start and an early lunch, Brad Schmulian - the man who scored a New Zealand record double century on debut two seasons ago - had been left stranded on 74 after almost four hours of resistance with the bat.

The Aces attack had put their back into their work in the conditions, but it took a calamity to obtain the final wicket with number 11 Blair Tickner producing a straight drive only to knock over the stumps at the non-striker's end.

By the time bowler Matt McEwan (4-51) had pounced on the ball and fired it back to the keeper, Tickner had joined Schmulian at the scene of the collapsed castle, run out after almost half an hour's stand for the final wicket.

Round One | Day Three

Wednesday 23 October

At Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland


TOSS: Central Stags who elected to bowl


At the Basin Reserve, Wellington



At Hagley Oval, Christchurch


TOSS: Canterbury who elected to bat


- NOTE: Bonus points are not added to the points table until the result of each match

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