Round three: Auckland Aces v Otago Volts at Eden Park Outer Oval, 7-10 November 2017
Points from this round: Auckland Aces 17, Otago Volts 4
The Auckland Aces won by 135 runs with more than two sessions to spare, fiery pace ace Lockie Ferguson claiming 5-44 to go with his career best seven wickets in the first innings.
It's the first time Ferguson has taken 10 wickets in a first-class match, let alone an outstanding 12-78.
The sorely needed win lifted the Aces off the bottom rung of the points ladder into fifth, as ND took a tumble in Hamilton.
A superb morning session from the Aces has ensured they claimed the victory, having begun the day requiring four wickets while the Volts sought 181 runs for victory.
Matt McEwan and Lockie Ferguson opened the bowling and were the only two bowlers required by the home side in a clinical morning of cricket.
Ferguson struck with his very first delivery, removing the potentially dangerous Derek de Boorder, before McEwan came to party with the wicket of another experienced campaigner in Mark Craig, caught at short mid-wicket.
The tail was cleaned up by Ferguson inside the first hour, the speedster finishing with his career best match haul and third five-wicket bag (or more) on the bounce.
The win is the Aces first in their Plunket Shield campaign, a confidence booster before heading to Hamilton next to take on Northern Districts on Wednesday. The Volts meanwhile head home to Dunedin where they will meet the unbeaten Central Stags.
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At 243 for seven by lunch on moving day, the Aces were making good on growing their advantage.
Their second-innings lead was now 286, albeit it with the fresh pairing of Michael Barry and Danru Ferns at the crease after Barry had lost two able and proven partners, Ben Horne and Matt McEwan, in quick succession, the duo placing Volts debutant Warren Barnes on yet another unconverted hat-trick in this action-packed extravaganza.
Earlier, overnight batsmen Robbie O'Donnell and Sean Solia had carried on with their important rebuilding job for the Aces, reaching a stand of 120 for the third wicket before a whooping Jimmy Neesham sent Solia's off-stump cartwheeling on 56.
O'Donnell would survive just a handful more overs before being adjudged caught behind off Neil Wagner when he was on 84 and looking for all the world that he might be the first to make it to three figures in this match,but from there the familiar rattle of quick wickets would again be heard at Outer Oval.
Both Barry and Ferns would fall quickly after lunch, the Volts now hunting the last wicket. Lockie Ferguson and Ben Lister, also on his debut, added a quick 29 for it, Lister's unbeaten 19 flying off 17 balls and including a straight six before the Aces' lead was stopped at 321.
However, Ferguson was quickly back in action with ball, removing Volts opener Brad Wilson for no score, then trapping Rob Nicol with a yorker, the Volts 10 for two. Young left-armer Ben Lister then struck twice in one over — Rutherford and Neesham — to seriously dent the hopes of the southerners of salvaging the match.
Neil Broom and Derek de Boorder made it through to tea, the Volts 53/4 and still needing 268 with four sessions in hand.
Lister continued his big first game in the last session, claiming BLACKCAP Broom shortly after play resumed, then Matt McEwan trapped Anaru Kitchen, both batsmen permitted only starts.
That left Derek de Boorder with the unenviable duty of trying to find 208 runs to win the match, to be assisted by Mark Craig, while Lockie Ferguson limbered up for another crack before stumps. But the Volts would survive, 140 for six at close of play with just 181 now to win, if they can hold onto their remaining wickets tomorrow morning.
After a rain-delayed start, Aces quick Lockie Ferguson carried on where he had finished off the previous evening.
Having already pocketed his 100th first-class wicket with a double strike in his opening over yesterday, in his first over Ferguson put himself on an unconverted hat-trick for the second time in the same innings as he sent Derek de Boorder's leg-stump flying, then Mark Craig had little option but to depart for a golden duck after being caught fending off a snorter next ball.
Those wickets took Ferguson to six for the innings, his second consecutive five-wicket bag in Plunket Shield cricket, and eighth of his overall first-class career.
The onus now fell on experienced Anaru Kitchen and Neil Wagner to graft to Volts out of trouble, Kitchen reaching 44 before Danru Ferns claimed the former Aucklander as his maiden first-class wicket, in a wicket maiden.
The Volts still trailed at this point by 91, now with only two left in hand. Wagner smashed Matt McEwan for six to kick off the following over, helping cream 15 from it alongside debutant Barnes, his new partner, who got off the mark with a straight drive to the boundary of his own.
The Volts were still 63 runs away from a first bonus point with the bat, but Ferguson would soon claim his seventh victim when he enticed Barnes to edge one behind, his smoking haul now 7-33 (his previous best was 5-37).
Ferguson would concede only one further run before Ferns wrapped up the innings with his second, the Volts rolled for 170 in 42.4 overs to trail by 43 on the first innings.
By tea in this fast-moving ball game the Aces were 92 for two in their second innings, leading by 135 but having lost both openers caught behind (Jeet Raval 28, Michael Guptill-Bunce 29) as Derek de Boorder continued his busy match with the gloves.
The Aces will have been more than pleased, therefore, to sit back and watch Robbie O'Donnell and Sean Solia develop the first substantial partnership of the match from either side in the top order, O'Donnell reaching his half century after three and a half hours' concentration, just after Solia had posted the Aces' 150. They took it through to 162 for two at stumps, ready to resume a partnership of 92 in the morning and in the lead to the tune of 205 runs.
Warren Barnes got his first-class career off to a flier on a juicy deck, ripping through the Aces’ top order as the Auckland hosts once again found themselves on the back foot early in this Plunket Shield season.
Barnes, who has represented the Otago Volts in white ball formats in recent seasons, and has then been through the injury mill, and back out again, claimed Michael Guptill-Bunce as his maiden wicket with just his second ball in first-class cricket, the Aces' captain squeezing a regulation catch to Jimmy Neesham at second slip second over of the morning.
The home side had been sent in on a blustery morning and Robbie O’Donnell quickly became Barnes’s second victim chasing one down the leg-side, before Barnes scored the trifecta with the big wicket of Jeet Raval, caught off a rising short ball at 35 for three.
Volts keeper Derek de Boorder was meanwhile fully occupied behind the stumps, pouching four catches from the morning session alone as the return of Sean Solia from his hamstring injury, and Mark Chapman, given to apparently the lightest of feathers, added their wickets to the heap that saw the Aces slope into lunch at 52 for five.
The middle session saw the Aces add 119 runs but at the cost of a further two poles, 178 for seven at the break with Barnes (4-35 at tea) now just one good shout away from a maiden five-for on debut.
Michael Barry (51) and Ben Horne (56) had been the fix-it guys for the Aces in the lower middle order and both played positively for their half centuries, going to and over the square rope before falling to the firm of Barnes and Neesham.
Matt McEwan, who had already produced some handy swashbuckling down the order this season in the previous round, had just belted a six and four off consecutive balls from Michael Rae to move to 41 when he lost debutant Ben Lister, the Aces now nine down.
The innings would be over before McEwan had a chance to make it a fifty, Lockie Ferguson quickly becoming Neil Wagner’s third victim as the BLACKCAP mowed down the tail to stop the scoreboard on 213 in 71 overs in the hour after tea, 23 overs still to be bowled.
But the wicket action was not about to slow down, a blistering Lockie Ferguson putting himself on an unconverted hat-trick before tall young debutant left-armer Ben Lister snared his maiden first-class and Aces wicket the very next over, getting Hamish Rutherford caught at mid-wicket to have the Volts in some strife of their own at 32/3.
Ferguson would have his third victim in Neil Broom, and then be on the cusp of yet another five-wicket-bag (which would be his second in successive innings bowled, if realised) with the fall of Jimmy Neesham in his following over, before the carnage was over for the day. It was a wicket maiden to boot, his figures now a shiny 8-3-12-4.
The Volts made it to 83 for five at stumps, Derek de Boorder and Anaru Kitchen holding the fort in a stand of 29.