After a high scoring summer, the Ford Trophy Major Preliminary Final was characterised by wickets rather than dashing stroke play. While the scoring was low, the match was a tense affair, with both sides desperate to make Sunday's Ford Trophy Final.
The Canterbury Wizards set the Wellington Firebirds a seemingly gettable 3.96 runs an over chase after being bowled out for 198 in the 46th over, with Scott Kuggeleijn (3/41 from 8 overs) and Luke Woodcock (3/22 from 5.5) making the inroads for the visitors. Several Wizards batsmen got starts, but only Tom Latham, who top scored for the home side with 44 from 67 balls, pushed on.
In the second innings, the Wizards seamers did the damage early, with Matt Henry (4/14 from 8.3 overs) dismissing twin dangermen Michael Papps and Jesse Ryder in consecutive balls. The Firebirds lost regular wickets from then on, and watched as the run rate required crept steadily toward six an over.
Only Grant Elliott (63 from 108) put a meaningful innings together, but when Ryan McCone (3/25 from 7 overs) bowled him in the 37th over, the writing was on the wall for the Firebirds.