Fulton helps Wizards win big

Peter Fulton signalled a timely return to batting form as Canterbury Wizards all but ended Wellington Firebird's Men's One-Day campaign at the Basin Reserve.

Fulton was denied his second century of the season but his stylish 93 still set the foundation for Canterbury's commanding 125-run victory, a result which vaulted them from third place to atop the table after former leaders Otago tied with Northern Districts in Whangarei.

Once Wellington launched their pursuit of Canterbury's 265 for six it was soon apparent another close result was not on the cards.

Opening bowlers Richard Sherlock and Australian import Mitchell Claydon soon had bottom-placed Wellington staring into the abyss at 17 for three inside five overs.

The hosts were eventually routed for 140 in the 36th over, providing Canterbury with the bonus point that propelled them to top spot with two rounds remaining.

Both pacemen hit the stumps to dislodge openers Neal Parlane for four and Cameron Merchant for 11 while former New Zealand allrounder Grant Elliott's four-ball duck exacerbated the slump when he edged Claydon to wicketkeeper Reece Young.

Claydon later needed just one ball of his second spell to complete Wellington's humiliation and finish with the excellent figures of three for 13 from 6.1 overs.

Stewart Rhodes and Harry Boam offered slight resistance with a 52-run stand for the fifth wicket but once they were separated, when Fulton run out the former after a risky single to mid on, the innings reverted to type.

Fulton also had a hand in the dismissals of Joe Austin-Smellie and Jeetan Patel after the duo both skied deliveries from left-arm spinner Martin Kain, who ended with three for 29 from five overs.

However, Fulton's biggest impact was with the bat after Canterbury chose to bat first.

Fulton, who had opened the season with 104 against Central Districts and 87 against Otago, failed against Auckland and in Canterbury's first match against Wellington before rediscovering his touch in the rematch.

Circumspect throughout a 122-ball vigil studded with 10 boundaries, the tall left-hander also gained valuable support from opener Rob Nicol after Michael Papps exited in the fifth over.

The pair patiently added 143 for the second wicket, constructing a sturdy platform so the middle order could adopt a more carefree approach towards the close.

Nicol eventually departed in the 37th over for 63 from 103 deliveries, a resolute knock that still contained two of Canterbury's three sixes.

Former New Zealand pace bowler Mark Gillespie was Wellington's chief wicket taker with three for 51, an analysis only spoiled at the death when Young and Todd Astle opened their shoulders.

Earlier, World Cup-bound spinner Luke Woodcock kept Fulton and Nicol in check, his 10 overs costing just 33 runs.

NZPA

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