Luke Woodcock broke two major records on one day. Image: www.photosport.nz

Woodcock brings up milestone

DAY FOUR

Wellington Firebirds 350/7 declared (Hamish Marshall 31, Luke Ronchi 119 not out, Matt McEwan 56) drew with the Otago Volts on 25 November 2016 at University of Otago Oval, Dunedin

Finally the sun agreed to bookend this weather-reduced clash, allowing the two teams to at least progress their hunt for first innings bonus points. With no prospect of an outright, the Firebirds batted aggressively until captain Michael Papps declared at 350/7, at tea — having secured the maximum bonus points available with the bat.

Video scorecard

First innings batting bonus points, Volts 1, Firebirds 4
First innings bowling bonus points, Firebirds 4, Volts 3

At that point, the captains shook hands for a draw, but it had been a very entertaining one on the final day. Luke Ronchi was unbeaten on 119 off 109 balls, his eighth ton for the Firebirds (off 99 balls) and 16th overall in his first-class career. He reached three figures with his 12th boundary off Rhys Phillips, and there were two sixes already in the mix.

However, there was a blow for the Firebirds when Jeetan Patel retired hurt on five after being struck on the hand — sent off for X-Rays which thankfully showed no broken bones.

Firebirds bustler Matt McEwan again stood up to reach his second first-class half century in the space of two games with a rollicking 56 (8x4, 2x6) while the Volts were ultimately left to contemplate reaching the halfway mark of the 2016/17 Plunket Shield competition without an outright win.

Earlier in the day it had been announced that the Firebirds and Stags would share five points each for their scrapped round four fixture following earthquake-related events, based on the average tally of total points (20) collected by the other four teams during that round.

The leading batsman at the halfway point meanwhile remains the Firebirds’ Luke Woodcock with 446 runs at an average of 89.20, a remarkable showing despite curtailed opportunities this round in Dunedin, and no play in round four.

The New Zealand domestic season now switches to white ball mode — McDonald’s Super Smash followed by the one-day Ford Trophy — until the battle for the Plunket Shield resumes on 25 February 2017.

POINTS
ND — 52
Canterbury — 49
Wellington Firebirds — 47
Auckland Aces — 41
Central Stags — 28
Otago Volts — 23

DAY THREE

Video scorecard

First innings batting bonus points, Volts 1 (completed), Firebirds 0 (in progress)
First innings bowling bonus points, Firebirds 4 (maximum achieved), Volts 0 (in progress)

For the second day in succession, rain drenched prospects of play and the only game conducted involved playing cards. The final day is scheduled to start at the earlier time of 10am tomorrow, weather permitting. Early rain is anticipated, however the forecast improves in the afternoon.

DAY TWO

Wellington Firebirds 119/3 (Michael Papps 47, Stephen Murdoch 43) trail the Otago Volts by 89 runs at University of Otago Oval, Dunedin on Wednesday 23 November 2016

First innings batting bonus points, Volts 1 (completed), Firebirds 0 (in progress)
First innings bowling bonus points, Firebirds 4 (maximum achieved), Volts 1 (in progress)

Video scorecard

After a Dunner Stunner on day one, the southern weather turned to curtail the available cricket on day two at Uni Oval.

After a delayed start, Firebirds captain Michael Papps was able to add only six more runs to his overnight score, caught behind off Jimmy Neesham just three runs short of a half century.

No one from either side had yet reached a fifty in the match, but the 9.2 overs of play did deliver a bonus point for the Volts, as Neesham’s efforts saw the Firebirds three down.

DAY ONE

Wellington Firebirds 89/1 (Michael Papps 41*) in the first innings. Earlier: Otago Volts 209 all out (Hamish Rutherford 31, Brad Wilson 33, Michael Bracewell 43, Jeetan Patel 6-55) at University of Otago Oval, Dunedin on Tuesday 22 November 2016

First innings batting bonus points, Volts 1 (completed), Firebirds 0 (in progress)
First innings bowling bonus points, Firebirds 4 (maximum achieved), Volts 0 (in progress)

After a full-on fortnight that encompassed a surprise NZA call-up, an earthquake and two abandoned matches, the Firebirds’ much loved opener Luke Woodcock finally got on the field for his record-breaking 121st first-class match for Wellington. He is now the second-most-capped player in New Zealand first-class domestic history, after James Marshall.

Not only did “Woody” break the caps record on day one, but he also scored enough runs to bust Matthew Bell’s Wellington Firebirds first-class career runs record on the same day — ironically with one of his quieter innings of the season, trapped by BLACKCAP Jimmy Neesham on 19.

Video scorecard

They were far from the only pieces of statchat celebrated in the Firebirds’ team dressing-room at the end of a strong opening day, Dunedin turning on a Dunner Stunner for the occasion of the 50th first-class match at University of Otago Oval.

Brent Arnel had returned to the Firebirds’ unit to play his 100th first-class match overall — and the took his 350th first-class wicket as he broke through to have Hamish Rutherford caught behind.

Indefatiguable teammate Jeetan Patel upstaged both Arnel and Woodcock, however, by doing the business on the day and taking his 25th first-class five-wicket-bag.

His haul of 6-55 was his first five-for of the home season — putting the Volts in a spin, and himself on a hat-trick with the tailend wickets of Michael Rae and Jack Hunter in a double wicket maiden — all this after Volts captain Brad Wilson had elected to bat.

The top order had got all got starts, but no Volts batsman reached fifty before they were dismissed for 208, athough Derek de Boorder did later manage to get the eight runs required to reach 4000 first-class career runs. He was dismissed for nine.

By stumps, the picture was already looking concerning for the still winless hosts, Firebirds captain Michael Papps in sight of a half century and the visitors well placed to seize an advantage in the first innings, albeit with a less stunning day of weather forecast for day two.

With Thanks To

Sky Sport Pitch ANZ Ford
Accor Hotels CCC Dream11 Dynasty Gillette GJ Gardner Hertz Les Mills Monteiths Powerade TAB