Canterbury and Aces face off in round two

Untroubled Aces surge to two from two

Ford Trophy round 2: Canterbury, 199 in 45.3 overs (Nicholls 60, Broom 54; McClenaghan 4-39) lost to Mondiale Auckland Aces (Guptill 55, Nicol 59 not out, Craig Cachopa 51) by 7 wickets at Eden Park outer oval

The Mondiale Auckland Aces swept Canterbury aside today for their second straight win at home, winning by seven wickets in round two — barely needing to raise a sweat in their chase.

It was a case of two sides, two distinctly different stories at the beginning of their respective Ford Trophy campaigns. The Canterbury line-up were largely the authors of their own misfortune after Peter Fulton had obligingly chosen to bat first on a fine, firm deck — posting just one partnership to speak of before setting themselves up for their second straight loss on the road.

Opener Henry Nicholls had looked in good touch against the ilk of Adam Milne in the previous round, and continued his good-looking form alongside Neil Broom, the pair raising fifties almost in unison. Broom had joined him after the early loss of Canterbury debutant Leo Carter (20-year-old son of BLACKCAPS assistant coach Bob Carter). Carter became the first of Mitch McClenaghan’s four wickets when he lobbed up a gift of a catch to Michael Bates in the sixth over.

The Aces’ pace had been boisterous, yet a little wasteful early on, conceding seven wides inside the first four overs — spread among three offenders. McClenaghan’s early strike was followed up immediately with a big shout against Broom on zero, but as Nicholls began carving him up, the scene was set for the introduction of spin at both ends, Tarun Nethula and Rob Nicol locking horns with two positive, crisp strokemakers.

The second wicket partnership was a century stand off just 108 balls, yet when it broke in the 26th over, Canterbury caved in — descending from a healthy 127-2 to be rolled for 199. Donovan Grobbelaar did the damage with a hand in both the big wickets — trapping Broom lbw before taking the stunner of a catch that dismissed Nicholls.

After an early lunch, the Aces got away to a screamer in reply, 24 without loss after the first three overs. Martin Guptill continued his polished form with the first six of the innings, matched soon after by Anaru Kitchen, who had the audacity to hook Ryan McCone.

The home team never looked threatened or uncomfortable in a cruisy mission that was accented by the odd spot of blistering strokeplay — including a second, seemingly almost effortless six from Guptill that flew between the stands to sail some distance out the gate into the Reimers Ave carpark.

Hamish Bennett was exacting in the Canterbury attack and was rewarded with Guptill's wicket, having him lbw in the 16th, after an attractive half century. Nicol next joined forces with Craig Cachopa to pick off the bulk of the chase — and each had all the time in the world to pace their way to half centuries of their own. Cachopa’s aggressive instincts came to the fore regardless, and he was ultimately caught after starting to loft the ball around the park as they headed for the beckoning finish line — reached with almost 17 overs to spare.

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