At lunch: SBS Bank Otago Volts 134/1 (Brad Wilson 46*, Michael Bracewell 55*) requiring a further 310 to win.
At tea: SBS Bank Otago Volts 213/2 (Brad Wilson 89*, Michael Bracewell 65) requiring 231 to win.
At stumps:: SBS Bank Otago Volts 338/7 (Brad Wilson 107, Neil Broom 84; Donovan Grobbelaar 3-45, Lockie Ferguson 3-36): match drawn
The final day of the Plunket Shield encounter between the Mondiale Auckland Aces and SBS Bank Otago Volts can be split into two distinct periods. The period up until the new ball was taken at 80 overs, and the period afterwards.
Aside from the wicket of the Volts' Anaru Kitchen, the early period of the day saw few chances as Brad Wilson and Michael Bracewell set up camp for the visitors.
Frustration meanwhile grew for the home side after a couple of chances didn’t go to hand prior to the lunch break.
Bracewell went to the break having reached his 50, Brad Wilson not far behind. The early post-lunch play offered an early flicker of hope as Bracewell looked to play expansively against Tarun Nethula, but slapped the ball directly into the substantial mitts of Colin de Grandhomme at short cover.
De Grandhomme happily took the catch in his buckets, and the Aces had a much needed wicket. However, replacing Bracewell at the crease, Neil Broom strode out and the Aucklanders knew they had another highly challenging batsman to remove.
Broom went about proving that to be the case as he and Wilson moved things along well; and looked rock-solid for their side as Rob Nicol tried a range of plans from his bowlers and field settings in an attempt to coax out a wicket.
Nicol was also down a bowler in his arsenal after Michael Bates was forced from the field through injury.
The Broom and Wilson partnership flourished as the new ball drew nearer.
Wilson went past his century, his second for the Volts and 10th overall; and Broom notched another first-class 50.
Then came the new ball and the outlook of the final throws of the match changed markedly. Lockie Ferguson got first crack, but it was Donovan Grobbelaar who was first to make it talk.
The left-armer picked up the set Brad Wilson with his first ball, and then with his fourth he had Jimmy Neesham trudging back to the sheds.
Just a couple of overs later, Derek de Boorder was also on his way to the sheds and the Volts had to scramble. Ferguson was then able to snap up the wicket of Sam Wells in the next over and it was down to Broom to try and take the tail to the close of play.
Broom looked like he might do just that, but Ferguson was able to rip one across him and he was gone inside the final 10 overs.
Nicol continued to give his bowlers ample chance to take wickets as he employed attacking fields.
At one point Nathan McAndrew’s cordon swelled to nine members, including keeper Brad Cachopa.
However, despite solid toil from the Aces' bowling attack, they weren’t able to draw out the final three Otago wickets, Craig Smith and Rhys Phillips helping their side to safety.
The draw doesn’t stop the Aces maintaining their position at the top of the Plunket Shield table. It does consign the Volts to the cellar, however, after the Stags managed a win in Napier.
Stumps score: SBS Bank Otago Volts 38/0 (second innings). Earlier: Mondiale Auckland Aces 431/8 declared (Jeet Raval 202, Rob Nicol 53, Colin de Grandhomme 52; Anaru Kitchen 3-36), leading by 406 runs at Eden Park Outer Oval
Jeet Raval’s second first-class double century, amid an outstanding dozen century efforts overall in his first-class career, has guided the Mondiale Auckland Aces to a greater than 400-run lead over the SBS Bank Otago Volts on the third day of their Plunket Shield encounter at Eden Park Outer Oval.
Aces skipper Rob Nicol declared not long after Raval had reached the milestone, his side on 431/8 with a 443-run lead.
Raval had entered the day on 49* and he was past 50 in the first over of the morning.
He lost his nightwatchman Tarun Nethula not long after, but he was able to form a watchful partnership with Nicol. The pair played very careful cricket as the Volts applied some heat against a moving ball early on.
Both were able to see out the challenging early period, and start scoring more freely leading up to and post lunch.
Raval moved quickly through the 80s and then 90s with a series of boundaries. The century, his first of the season for the Aces, was his 12th first-class ton overall. Nicol brought up his second 50 of the match with a huge six not long after.
However, Nicol was unable to stick around much longer: out stumped for 53. Cachopa and Raval then formed another productive partnership.
Cachopa’s innings was closed by Jacob Duffy who finally found the edge he’d be looking for from the first session, and the keeper batsman had to go for 24.
Raval was then joined at the crease by de Grandhomme who quickly picked up where he’d left off in his first innings and moved the scoring rate along at a very steady pace, in tandem with Raval.
The powerful allrounder showed off some of his trademark big shots, but was also able to work the strike well and feed Raval. The Volts tried spin and pace to budge Auckland’s opener, but he responded to it all and kept marching on while de Grandhomme eventually departed caught and bowled by Kitchen for 52.
Listen to Jeet Raval run through the day and his innings below.
Raval was able to continue to dictate play with Nathan McAndrew, Donovan Grobbelaar and then Michael Bates joining him at the crease.
Some late hitting from those lower order players helping Raval to take Auckland past 400 and build their lead. Raval went to his double century with his 28th four of the innings. The milestone prompted a passionate celebration from the 27-year-old, and he was able to enjoy the sweet moment in the middle with his Suburbs New Lynn teammate Michael Bates.
In pursuit of Auckland’s 443-run lead, the Volts were 38/0 at the epic day's close. Wilson and Kitchen had survived a couple of big appeals, Tarun Nethula also able to garner some late turn, setting up an interesting contest on the final day.
Stumps score: Mondiale Auckland Aces 104/2 (Jeet Raval 49) in the second innings, leading by 116. Earlier, SBS Bank Otago Volts 265 all out in 79.1 overs (first innings; Brad Wilson 42. Anaru Kitchen 53, Jimmy Neesham 39, Derek de Boorder 52; Tarun Nethula 3-64)
A strong bowling effort helped the Mondiale Auckland Aces to a handy lead of 116 after the second day of their Plunket Shield clash with the SBS Bank Otago Volts.
Anaru Kitchen and Brad Wilson resumed for the Volts where they had left off, both looking comfortable at the crease. Kitchen managed to make his way past 50 early in the day, but Michael Bates soon got the breakthrough Auckland was looking for; getting him caught behind.
Kitchen’s replacement Michael Bracewell couldn’t get settled and he fell victim to Colin de Grandhomme. Tarun Nethula was then able to get the big breakthrough of Wilson before lunch.
While the Aces had managed three wickets in the first session, the Volts still had a very handy pair at the crease in Neil Broom and Jimmy Neesham.
After the interval, Nathan McAndrew showed good energy in a bustling spell that saw Broom trapped lbw. Neesham held on for another 10 overs, but a close run out by Donovan Grobbelaar sent him on his way.
After Neesham’s wicket the Aces were able to chip out the remaining wickets well, and the Volts were all out for 265 by tea, trailing the home side by 12 runs.
Nethula had picked up 3/64, with Bates, Grobbelaar, de Grandhomme and McAndrew sharing the rest.
Play recommenced with the game evenly poised: openers Jeet Raval and Michael Guptill-Bunce went to the middle aiming to survive the remaining 33 overs of the day.
However, Sam Wells was able to find Guptill-Bunce’s edge as he was trying to get settled. Robbie O’Donnell then joined Raval to see out the evening, but a crafty caught and bowled by Rhys Phillips saw him out soon after.
Day two finished with the Aces 116 ahead and two wickets down, Raval joined by Nethula as nightwatchman.
Stumps score: SBS Bank Otago Volts 60/0 (Anaru Kitchen 36*); earlier: Mondiale Auckland Aces 277 all out in 76.1 overs (Rob Nicol 60, Colin de Grandhomme 59, Nathan McAndrew 42; Sam Wells 3-59, Rhys Phillips 3-62) in the first innings at Eden Park Outer Oval, 20 February 2016
It was an eventful first day’s play at Eden Park Outer Oval that saw the Mondiale Auckland Aces all out for 277, despite some solid efforts with the bat.
Regular captain of the SBS Bank Otago Volts Hamish Rutherford was a late withdrawal after being struck on the helmet last round, so it was Volts skipper Brad Wilson who won the toss and decided to send in the Aces.
The Aucklanders had an up and down day opening on their home turf. Openers Jeet Raval and Michael Guptill-Bunce started to slowly tick things along, but Southland seamer Craig Smith made the most of the early conditions, getting Raval and Robbie O’Donnell.
Michael Guptill-Bunce made his way past the teens, but couldn’t continue his dangerous recent form, Jack Hunter claiming his wicket.
Brad Cachopa and Rob Nicol were looking comfortable by the time lunch rolled around, but soon after play resumed Sam Wells removed Cachopa in what would be his first of three wickets.
Colin de Grandhomme joined the skipper at the crease and hit an entertaining 50 off 39 balls, skipper Nicol also making his way to 50, but in a more patient manner, off 149 balls.
It appeared the Aces were getting comfortable in the middle, but Rhys Phillips and Wells found form with the ball, each picking up three-wicket hauls, including the big wickets of de Grandhomme and Nicol.
Otago’s momentum continued and, despite Nathan McAndrew providing support with a good knock of 42, the tail struggled to wag and the home side was all out for 277.
In reply, the southern visitors sent Anaru Kitchen and Wilson to try and survive the remaining 19.5 overs in the day. The Aces were hoping for some late wickets, but the two Volts openers held their ground and made their way to 60 without loss by the end of play.