Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland, 1-4 March 2018
First innings batting bonus points: Auckland Aces 3 (completed), Northern Districts 1 (completed)
First innings bowling bonus points: Northern Districts 4 (maximum achieved), Auckland Aces 4 (maximum achieved)
Points this round: Auckland Aces 19, Northern Districts 5
The Auckland Aces completed a comprehensive 140-run victory over Northern Districts at Eden Park Outer Oval to rejuvenate their Plunket Shield campaign.
The home side started the day needing three wickets, and didn’t muck around, completing the victory inside half an hour.
Northern’s only serious hope was Scott Kuggeleijn, but when Ben Lister accounted for him the game was all but over.
Matt McEwan picked up Joe Walker to finish with figures of 4-36, while Lister claimed the last wicket for 4-34 in the second innings.
The match will be remembered for McEwan’s hat-trick – only the fifth for the Auckland Aces in first-class cricket and the first at Eden Park on either ground.
It was also McEwan’s fifth five-wicket bag, his second for the Aces.
The milestones kept coming for the home side in the match with Ben Horne equalling an Auckland record of eight catches by a wicketkeeper.
The Aces now look ahead to their next match against the Central Stags, starting on Friday back at their fortress of Eden Park Outer Oval.
Despite being dismissed for 199 in their second dig, the Auckland Aces ultimately fought fire with fire to put themselves in a dominant position on moving day, by stumps needing just three wickets for victory. Northern Districts will meanwhile resume at 141/7 tomorrow (Sunday) needing to find a steep 161 runs to avoid defeat.
Yesterday’s hat-trick hero, Matt McEwan, struck late in the day to remove BJ Watling for a dogged 45 and finished the day with three for 27, another strong effort with the ball after his five-wicket bag in the first innings.
Ben Lister (2-23, above) and Jamie Brown (2-22) were the other wicket-takers as the Aces turned the screws. Brown and Lister both ran in hard, and were rewarded for their consistent line and length after frustrating the ND batsmen.
Surrey pro Stuart Meaker also toiled hard, without luck, in a solid all-round performance.
Earlier, the home side had started the day with a lead of 185 runs and, while they lost regular wickets in the morning session, cameos from the lower order ensured they still had a decent total to bowl at.
McEwan contributed 30 with the bat while Lister and Brown’s 20-run 10th wicket stand was crucial in seeing the lead past 300 as the pair continue to step up at the representative level.
ND senior paceman Brent Arnel (above) kept chipping away and finished with 4-58, Jimmy Baker having removed both openers cheaply in his brace and Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn likewise taking home a two-fa.
The Auckland Aces bowlers will be looking to come out firing tomorrow morning and mop up the ND tail to start the second half of their Plunket Shield campaign with a win. Neither visiting batsmen is set, with Scott Kuggeleijn five overnight and Joe Walker yet to bat after the late wicket closed the day's proceedings.
A Matt McEwan hat-trick was the highlight on day two of the Plunket Shield fixture between the Auckland Aces and Northern Districts at Eden Park Outer Oval.
McEwan took his hat-trick across two overs, first removing Dean Brownlie, caught behind off the final ball of the 26th over.
He then got both BJ Watling then Daryl Mitchell in consecutive balls to give Auckland the ascendancy heading into lunch.
His hat-trick was the first ever on Eden Park and the second of the day in the Plunket Shield with Wellington Firebird Logan van Beek claiming one against Canterbury.
Earlier, it was the work of Aces debutant Jamie Brown who got the wickets rolling for the home side.
Brown opened his account with the wicket on Daniel Flynn before he snared a superb caught and bowled effort to dismiss number three Bharat Popli.
Heading into the lunch break, the Aces were in a dominant position with Northern Districts 95/5, Henry Cooper and Tim Seifert at the crease.
The ND pair pressed on after lunch, both passing 50, however, it was that man McEwan striking again to remove Cooper for 60.
Off-spinner Glenn Phillips came on and, just as Seifert (78) threatened to get going, he holed out to deep-square to swing the game back to the home side.
Out after the tea break and McEwan was at it again claiming his fifth wicket of the innings, his 24th of the season – a heartening return to red-ball cricket.
Left-armer Ben Lister came back into the attack and promptly picked up the last two wickets, giving the Aces a lead of 102 heading into the second innings.
Michael Guptill-Bunce raced to 17 before falling to James Baker, Sean Solia (above) joined Jeet Raval with the pair putting on 41 for the second wicket.
The Aces lost Raval and Robbie O’Donnell in the last few overs before stumps, finishing the day 83/3 with a lead of 185 runs.
On a day that saw every first-class captain bowl first, the Aces posted a solid 339 after having been sent in by Northern Districts at a humid Eden Park Outer Oval.
Daniel Flynn's decision to bowl first wasn't without early dividends as classy Jeet Raval was strangled down the leg-side for a duck. That saw Sean Solia join Aces red-ball skipper Michael Guptill-Bunce in the sixth over and pair looked comfortable together, putting on 100 for the second wicket.
Guptill-Bunce (58) combined busy running with the occasional show of power, especially brutal on the short ball on the way to his half-century.
Solia was also in good touch, driving through the covers with ease on his way to a well earned half-century.
Guptill-Bunce fell about 20 minutes before lunch, leaving Solia (51*) and Robbie O’Donnell (10*) to navigate their way through to the break as the Aces reached 125 for two.
ND came out firing after the break, the hosts losing both batsmen in quick succession to put the innings back on a knife edge at 145 for four.
Seamer Jimmy Baker (above) had earlier made the breakthrough of Raval and now pocketed O'Donnell, operating in tandem with Brent Arnel as they put the squeeze on. Baker would go on to a new career best of six for 72 as he wrapped up the innings, bettering his previous six for 75 by a fraction.
Glenn Phillips and Michael Barry steadied the ship for the Aces for now, however, putting on 48 with Phillips striking at better than run-a-ball. Phillips was back at the same ground, against the same opponents, where he scored his first-class century last summer to become one of only two New Zealanders (along with Hamish Marshall in the same summer) to score centuries in all three formats in a season.
Ben Horne joined Phillips at the crease, the pair making it through to tea with no further damage and entering the final session 215 for five.
Both Phillips and Horne passed the half century mark, particularly brutal against off-spinner Joe Walker, hitting couple of big, straight sixes.
When Horne went for 51, Phillips continued to work the ball around, the plucky number five dismissed an agonising seven runs short of yet another deserved century.
Matt McEwan (24) added some valuable late runs as the tail nudged the Aces passed 300, eventually bowled out to finish the day and their innings at 339. It was Baker's fourth career first-class bag.