SUNDAY 26 JANUARY 2020
OTAGO VOLTS beat the CENTRAL STAGS by 125 runs; with a bonus point
• University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
Hamish Rutherford underpinned an Otago Volts all-time first-wicket List A record of 189 after The Ford Trophy got back underway with a bang for 2019/20.
After the Volts had won the toss at a Uni Oval, Rutherford led an aggressive charge with Mitch Renwick (47) en route to reaching his side's third highest individual innings: a breathtaking knock of 155 off just 101 balls that set up a handsome and much-needed win for the hosts, moving them up to third spot on the ladder.
The experienced opening left-hander clocked up his 3000th List A run in the process of his thunderous innings, reaching his 11th List A century and sixth for the Otago Volts off just 85 balls.
Highest Ford Trophy scores for Otago Volts
170 Brendon McCullum v Auckland Aces 2007/08 | Eden Park Outer Oval
164 Neil Broom v Canterbury 2009/10 | Aorangi Oval
155 Hamish Rutherford v Central Stags 2019/20 | University of Otago Oval
154 Hamish Rutherford v Canterbury 2018/19| University of Otago Oval
Rutherford already had a hand in the previous first-wicket record for the Volts, having put on 175 with Rob Nicol at Rangiora in 2017/18, and dominated today's assault as the Volts reached their 150 inside the first 20 overs to stroll past the team's 20-year-old partnership record of 120 in games against the Stags on the way to their highest opening stand against any side.
The Stags were made to work hard for the breakthrough which ultimately arrived in the 25th over as Seth Rance had Mitch Renwick caught behind just three runs short of reaching a half century.
With Neil Broom, Rutherford blazed on until the 30th, until Willem Ludick finally enticed a catch to end a career-best display that included 19 boundaries and seven sixes.
Broom (52 off 50 balls) simply picked up where Rutherford left off, shaping another century stand with Nick Kelly (79 off 56) for the third wicket before becoming Ludick's second wicket at a lofty 330 for three in the 43rd over.
The Volts carried on to post their all-time record total, going past their previous Ford Trophy best of 371/7 at Timaru 20 years ago in the 48th over.
None of the Stags' attack was spared as Nathan Smith (21* off 12) and former Stag Dean Foxcroft (35* off 23) had a license to free their arms, adding a quick late burst to take their side through to a majestic 407 for four: the highest total the Stags have ever conceded in The Ford Trophy.
Needing more than eight an over from the outset, the Stags made a positive start but even a series of healthy contributions from their key batsmen couldn't get them close to the target.
New opening pair Greg Hay (a run-a-ball 43) and the summer's form batsman Dane Cleaver (40 off 29) put on 55 together in just 7.4 overs before Anaru Kitchen (4-34) had Cleaver caught.
The wicket ushered in Will Young, returning from seven months on the sidelines following shoulder surgery to post a half century in his first reappearance at the crease.
It was a heartening sight for the Stags who have missed the class performer, Young hitting four boundaries and three sixes in his 54-ball 62 before miscuing Michael Rae to a well judged catch by Michael Rippon.
While Rae picked up a two-fa, the Volts' spinners would help themselves to the remaining eight wickets between them, just not before veteran Kieran Noema-Barnett took the long handle to them with a last-ditch attempt to rein in a required rate that had crept up more than 12 per over.
Noema-Barnett (a career best 76 off 56) pelted Rippon out of the attack with back-to-back sixes amid 17 off the 17th over, amid a fast 75-run stand for the eighth wicket with Brad Schmulian (35 off 32).
The pair had pumped their 50-stand off just 40 balls but when Noema-Barnett holed out in the 40th over, it was the beginning of the end - the Stags bowled out for 282 soon afterwards in a tough start for new captain Ben Smith.
The two teams now head north to Nelson for a fascinating rematch at Saxton Oval this Wednesday, with the Stags desperate to get off the bottom of the ladder.