The Wellington Firebirds have sprung back from a first-up loss to early leaders the Auckland Aces with a well controlled five-wicket win over hosts the Otago Volts as List A domestic cricket returned to Queenstown for the first time since 2015.
Volts skipper Jacob Duffy elected to bat but his side’s 229 for five wasn’t enough to threaten the visitors who chased it down with four and a half overs in hand — consistent force Devon Conway top-scoring with 79.
After an early wicket in the first over of the chase for Volts paceman Blair Soper on his Ford Trophy debut, Conway presided over the batting crease for the next 32 overs, sharing stands of 95 with Rachin Ravindra for the second wicket and 73 with Jimmy Neesham for the fourth.
Twenty-year-old Ravindra produced a half century on Ford Trophy debut - having played his first five List S matches for New Zealand A last season.
Shortly after spinning allrounder Dean Foxcroft had managed to put a stop to another Conway century already this summer, Neesham’s departure in the 37th over saw the Firebirds still needing 40 further runs for the win.
WICKET | Foxcroft breaks the Neesham and Conway partnership! Conway falls for 79 and @wgtnfirebirds are 45 runs away, do we have a sniff? 184/4 16 overs to goâš¡ï¸
However, allrounders Malcolm Nofal and Jamie Gibson saw the job through with plenty of time to spare.
Earlier, revitalised opener Nick Kelly had backed up his first-innings century for the Volts by knuckling down with a patient 65 in two hours. After his removal in the 32nd over, however, the Firebirds made regular breakthroughs.
From a platform of 138 for two, the Volts struggled through to 229 for nine as the visitors regained the ascendancy at John Davies Oval.
The win saw the Firebirds join the Volts on four points in the top half of the table pending the final result in round three, before Canterbury pushed ahead of them with a bonus point win under lights up north in Hamilton.