Aces hold nerve to snatch tight win

Andre Adams again starred as the Auckland Aces pulled off the first outright result of the new Plunket Shield season in a tense and closely fought affair against the Northern Knights.

The 36-year-old allrounder captured five for 52 as the Aces won the match by 19 runs late on the third day at Whangarei’s Cobham Oval today.

The Knights were dismissed for 244 chasing 264 for victory, a target set for them after 22 wickets tumbled on the second day of the scheduled four-day match.

Their main nemesis was again Adams, a lively seamer who lifted his match haul to 11 for 123 after taking six for 71 in the first innings. It is the fifth time Adams has taken 10 or more wickets in a first-class match in a career dating back to 1997.

He made a huge impact again today as fortunes ebbed and flowed after the Knights resumed on none for one.

At 116 for two they were in a threatening position but the dismissal of James Marshall, who was bowled by Adams for 38, saw the pressure suddenly transferred to the batting side.

Allrounder Joseph Yovich, batting at No 3, still looked to have things under control and he was at the crease for close to four hours in making 58 before offspinner Bhupinder Singh had him caught by Tim McIntosh.

That left the Knights teetering at 186 for six and they eventually fell short of their target despite Peter McGlashan making 28 and new recruit Corey Anderson 22.

While Adams did the main damage, the Volts were also well served by their spinners, with Singh taking three for 57 off 24 overs and Bruce Martin two for 70 off 22.5. 

Day 2: Adams fires up for Aces

Andre Adams was in his element as he fired up the Auckland Aces against Plunket Shield rivals the Northern Knights in Whangarei today.

The hustle and bustle seam bowler snared six for 71 as the Knights were shot out for just 136 to concede a first innings deficit of 122 runs at Cobham Oval.

The Knights hit back in kind, restricting the Aces to 139 in the second innings, leaving the match very much in the balance as the home side eye their victory target of 264.

They hit an immediate speed bump though when Adams removed nightwatchman Trent Boult for nought in the only over possible before the close.

In all, 22 wickets fells for only 283 runs today as the match progressed quickly.

Adams and his fast bowling colleague Michael Bates formed a highly effective two-man hit squad after the visitors added eight runs to their overnight score of 250 for nine.

At the age of 36 the former international showed he has lost none of the fizz and bubble which has characterised his career, snaring five or more wickets in an innings for the 26th time.

The Knights looked secure enough at 50 for one but the wheels fell of their innings once Bates dismissed opener Anton Devcich for 23.

James Marshall soon followed, trapped leg before wicket by Adams for 29, and the slide was on as the two quicks conspired to claim the last eight wickets for just 77 runs.

Adams’ healthy haul came from 16.4 overs while Bates was the perfect foil in taking four for 37 off 14 overs as the Knights folded inside 41 overs.

The Knights bowlers then kept their side in the contest by taking wickets at regular intervals as the Aces fought hard to build on the good work of Adams and Bates.

The ball continued to dominate the bat , with left-handed opener Tim McIntosh against falling cheaply to left-arm seamer Boult, who had taken five for 51 in the first innings.

This time McIntosh’s one-ball stay ensured he did not trouble the scorers and no one else was able to make serious inroads on the scorebook, with Gareth Hopkins topscoring with 23.

International Tim Southee impressed in his comeback match from a knee injury.

Having been used sparingly on the first day Southee got through nine overs today to return the figures of three for 23, his victims including Brad Cachopa, Colin de Grandhomme and Bruce Martin.

Boult was again worthy of the utmost respect as he also ended with three for 23 off 11.

* Image: Andre Adams celebrates with team mates

Day 1: Runs hard to come by at Cobham Oval

A disciplined Northern Knights bowling attack led by Trent Boult kept the Auckland Aces honest in their opening Plunket Shield match of the summer in Whangarei today.

Left-arm seamer Boult captured five for 48 off 24 demanding overs as the Aces cautiously made their way to 250 for nine by stumps on the opening day of the four-day fixture at Cobham Oval, a ground which will become this country’s newest international venue later this season.

After the Knights chose to field upon winning the toss, the only batsman to get on top was first drop Andrew de Boorder, who topscored with a resolute 64 which was 258 minutes in the making.

He put away the few loose balls offered to spice his knock with 11 boundaries but for the most part de Boorder and his colleagues were made to work extra hard for their runs.

The Aces suffered an immediate setback when tall left-handed opener Tim McIntosh made just two before edging Boult behind, and the visitors never truly recovered despite de Boorder sharing a stand of 83 with Brad Cachopa before Boult removed the latter for 37.

For good measure 22-year-old Boult later returned to the action to account for Colin de Grandhomme for a swift 38, Bruce Martin for eight and Andre Adams for 18 to pick up his fourth five-wicket haul  in a 19-match first-class career.

Resuming tomorrow morning with the job of extending the Aces innings will be Bhupinder Singh on five alongside Martin Bates on four.

* Image: Trent Boult

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