Central District Stags
STAGS TAKE ON OTAGO AT SAXTON OVAL
Sent in at Saxton, a superb batting display saw the Central Stags set up a big-scoring win over the Volts in a 180-degree reversal of Sunday’s shock drubbing in Dunedin.
The 55-run victory keeps the Stags right in the running to make The Ford Trophy playoffs if they can gather momentum through the back three games – starting with a big one against leaders the Auckland Aces at Pukekura Park from 11am this Sunday.
Captain BEN SMITH’S career best 149 not out; KIERAN NOEMA-BARNETT’s ballistic unbeaten 81* off a mere 35 rocks – with a career best 3-26 in the same game; a massive new second-wicket partnership record between GEORGE WORKER (99) and Smith against all teams; and a successful List A debut for young wicketkeeper BAYLEY WIGGINS were just some of the many highlights on a day to remember at Saxton Oval.
Not even a career-best century in reply for ex-Stag Dean Foxcroft or one of the biggest sixes seen at the ground – Nathan Smith blasting the ball onto the roof of the pavilion en route to the athletic field – could prevent the Stags from grabbing four much-needed points to put them just a game away from the top three on the table, although they narrowly missed out on getting a bonus point thanks to Foxcroft’s fighting, run-a-ball 138.
Having been sent in on a warm, humid Nelson morning, Ben Smith had already trumped that effort with the best List A performance of his career.
Smith batted from the third ball of the innings right through until the end of the innings for his gutsy 149* off 151 balls, including 15 boundaries and three sixes.
With Worker, who was fresh back from tonning up for New Zealand A, the pair more than steadied the ship after the early loss of Greg Hay who had no luck as he was given out lbw first ball.
Smith and Worker paced their record second-wicket partnership superbly, the left-hander showing all his experience in building a winning one-day innings total while the experienced Smith is proving a late bloomer on the List A scene in his best summer yet.
Smith now has two Ford Trophy centuries, both scored this season after his century in round one at Fitzherbert Park against Canterbury.
While that high scoring innings went to waste in a washout, this time Smith celebrated his 50th List A appearance with a victory, his first as captain.