Auckland Aces lift Ford Trophy in high tension final

Auckland Aces (143/7 in 25.1 overs) beat the Canterbury Wizards (139 all out after 34.5 overs) by three wickets

The Wizards' innings failed to ever gain momentum, losing George Worker in the second over for 0, before Rob Nicol went in the cruellest fashion, run out at the non-striker's end from a thunderous Peter Fulton straight drive. It started a collapse from which the visitors never really recovered. 

The Aces' Michael Bates nabbed the prize wickets of BLACKCAPS stars Peter Fulton, who'd contributed 41 from 40 balls, and Dean Brownlie for a duck, in successive balls. Only Fulton and Tom Latham (42) showed resistance for the Wizards. 

Bates finished with 3/30 from his 6 overs, with Kyle Mills (1/12), Chris Martin (2/39) and Donovan Grobbelaar (2/22) also among the wickets. Two late run outs meant the Wizards were all out in the thirty-fifth over. 

The Aces began the chase before lunch, and appeared to be cruising at 57/1 at the break. Anaru Kitchen (37), Craig Cachopa (17) and Colin Munro (21) all contributed, but when the finish line was in sight, the wheels threatened to come off, with wickets tumbling and the Wizards turning up the pressure with close in fielders crowding the bat.

BLACKCAP Bruce Martin, who wasn't required to bowl, eventually took charge with two fours from successive balls, before captain Gareth Hopkins (34 not out) fittingly hit the winning runs. 

With Thanks To

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