The Auckland Aces pulled off the ninth biggest victory (by runs margin) in Ford Trophy history when they beat Northern Districts by a massive 161 runs at Eden Park Outer Oval, in ROUND ONE Ford Trophy 15 January 2017
How it happened
• Northern Districts decided to have a bowl. They were already without their BLACKCAPS (busy playing a Test in the Basin) and Ish Sodhi was missing from the attack having been given a leave pass to go make his Big Bash debut in Oz. To even things up, Colin Munro had gone too & both teams had three players on Ford Trophy debut.
• Scott Kuggeleijn set a blistering pace opening the ND attack and quickly ripped through Michael Guptill-Bunce’s defensive shot and onto his stumps, a wicket with the fourth ball of the day. So far, so good for ND.
• Enter Sean Solia on Ford Trophy debut. The 24-year-old from Suburbs was fresh out of his first season of McDonald’s Super Smash and moving up to first drop now in One-Day. Great decision from the Aces. He would go on to score more than half the team’s runs with an epic 152 off 127 balls, the sixth highest individual score by anyone from his team in List A history.
• Solia slammed 12 fours and eight sixes, putting the ball back over the bowler’s head again and again as he single-handedly demoralised ND after their promising start.
• Seamer Zak Gibson was on List A debut for ND and was unlucky not to get Glenn Phillips early when a catch flew just over the slips. ND celebrated when they got the powerhouse opener out for just a relatively tame 34 in the end (bowled by Jono Boult). Little did they suspect Solia was the key force to be reckoned with!
• He pumped a beautiful six — graceful, even — back over the bowler’s head to raise his maiden 50 on debut. He motored into the 90s with another. By now he was batting with his Suburbs New Lynn teammate Michael Barry. Solia hooked Daryl Mitchell to the boundary and voila, a Ford Trophy hundred on debut! Off 90 balls, nine boundaries, five sixes, with his team sitting pretty at 161/3.
• So often you see a batsman get out just after getting a hundred, but not Solia, he just kept enjoying the day. The Aces’ 200 came up in the 34th over along with a 50-run stand with Barry, Solia now 131*. His 150 came from just 124 balls!
• The only way he was ever going to get himself out was caught and it took a heck of a catch from Brett Hampton to do it after he sent one up into the stratosphere on 161, a wicket for Kuggeleijn. Barry fell the following over but by now the Aces were in a good spot at 233 for five.
• Amazingly, they then got bowled out with almost three overs unused. Boult carried on to a three-for through the middle, and Gibson finally got his maiden List A wicket in Tarun Nethula, which stopped the innings at 295 all out. Good comeback from the ND attack who must have felt like they were running into a hurricane when Solia was planting bombs.
• Still, chasing nearly 300, ND needed a big start with the bat and they didn’t get it. Both openers, captain Dean Brownlie and Daniel Flynn, were taken out first over by a fired up Lockie Ferguson to have them one for two. And the young BLACKCAPS quick was just getting warmed up.
• His next trick was to put himself on a hat-trick — which also raised the possibility of a five-wicket-bag in just three overs. Brett Hampton did well to avert it, leaving Ferguson with a double wicket maiden as consolation and figures of four wickets for five runs.
• Raja Sandhu came into the attack on debut and got the adept big-hitter Scott Kuggeleijn caught behind to have ND in tatters at 46 for six after just 11 overs. They were in danger of posting their lowest ever ND total, and once they got past that — 76 — there was still the threat of a lowest ever tally against the Aces (99).
• To be fair, at 77/7, probably not the immediate problem on their minds. Hampton was hanging in there but when Ferguson came back, he zinged one through to clip the top of the leg stump and celebrate his maiden five-wicket bag in List A one-dayers, and another wicket maiden.
• Bags of six or more are much rarer and it was a class strike from Ferguson as he took out Daryl Mitchell caught. Hampton (23 off 36), Boult (21 off 22) and Mitchell (39 off 35) had given their guts trying to save ND’s face, but the end was nigh for ND — they would be bowled out for 134 in the space of just 27 overs, in one of the top dozen heaviest Ford Trophy defeats ever.
• It wouldn’t be the man of the hour himself to wrap it up, but Ferguson could be epically proud of 6-27 off eight overs.
Betcha the Aces can’t wait to be back at Eden Park this Wednesday, against the Volts — who are coming off a close round one loss in Dunedin in a solid fight with the Firebirds. The Aces are top of the table thanks to a bonus point. Game on from 11am, entry by gold coin donation at the gate.