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Blair Tickner returns for Ford Trophy Final - Central Districts Cricket

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Blair Tickner will boost the Central Stags in Queenstown tomorrow when the team contests the 2021/22 Ford Trophy Grand Final.

Tickner has been released from the BLACKCAPS Test squad in Christchurch as the Stags head into their first national one-day Final since 2016, live on Spark Sport from 11am tomorrow (Saturday).

Ray Toole remains with the squad, taking the final group to 13 after Toole rejoined the squad in Auckland for yesterday’s 10th round following a knee injury to Ben Wheeler at training on Wednesday.

The Stags put a total of 301 on the board in Auckland, first drop Brad Schmulian contributing a List A one-day career best 75 and Ross Taylor adding another half century to his unbeaten 111- and 50 in his last three games.

Fast bowler Adam Milne (2-18 off his six overs, including two maidens) was once again on fire with his searing deliveries, and a flurry of late wickets saw the Stags drive the game to a last-over finish, but the Auckland Aces got a three-wicket win on this occasion.

The victory squared this season’s ledger between the teams to one-all, after the Aces had suffered a defeat at the hands of the Stags in the first round of the competition.

The Stags maintain the top qualifier position regardless and Milne, who has also spent this week being picked up by the Chennai Super Kings for this year’s IPL and being retained for the UK’s The Hundred, says it's exciting to be going up against a strong Auckland Aces squad again tomorrow.

"There’s a number of BLACKCAPS in that Aces side and George Worker, a former CD man who’s scored four hundreds in the season. Very good batting and bowling talent in that side, and an exciting batting line-up for them. But at the same time, we’ve got a number of class bowlers so hopefully, come tomorrow, we can do the job."

The Ford Trophy Final - which will be live on Spark Sport - will be Milne's first match in Queenstown since 2014, when he was just 21, while several of the squad haven’t played at John Davies Oval before.

"I probably only bowled a couple of overs in that BLACKCAPS ODI that day, and that’s the only other time I’ve played here.

"But it’s such an amazing, beautiful place to come to and play cricket. Hopefully tomorrow we can put on a show with bat and ball, as well as the surroundings."

Milne says that he’s been pleased with elements of his own game during the campaign, but is "always chasing perfection".

"I’m always looking to improve with my next performance."

Milne said Ross Taylor’s presence through the back half of the Stags’ campaign had been great for the younger players in the squad who have soaked up his approach to the game and tactical nous.

"He’s a world class batter and to have his experience in the game and knowledge on the park, it’s a real asset.

"The young guys being able to mix with him and learn from him, and to have him playing, it’s exciting for this comp."

The match will be live-scored at cdcricket.co.nz from 11am NZT with the toss scheduled for 10.30am.

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