The Central Stags have claimed a crucial victory over the Auckland Aces, but were made to work harder than anticipated on day four of their match at Nelson Park in Napier.
Colin Munro made a superb century to give the Aces an unlikely lead of 145 runs. A mini-collapse from the Stags put the match on edge, until they reached their target in the 47th over to win by four wickets.
Despite putting on 51 for the opening partnership, the pursuit was far from easy for the home side, who had many nervous moments.
The Stags’ lost Jamie How, Carl Cachopa and Matthew Sinclair all within the space of six runs. Will Young was then sent in to partner opener Jeet Raval and together they got their team to within 48 of their target.
Both batsmen failed to see the job through though and the Aces were once again in the hunt. Stags’ captain Kieran Noema-Barnett (14) made sure that his side wouldn’t be denied though and alongside Doug Bracewell (13) saw out the final runs.
Mitchell McClenaghan and Bruce Martin were among the wickets with three scalps apiece, but didn’t find the support they needed from their fellow bowlers.
At the start of the day however the Stags would have been hoping to chase a much smaller target.
They held a ten run lead over the Aces with an innings in hand, who were well and truly on the back-foot being seven wickets down.
Munro though refused to rollover and alongside Michael Bates put on a partnership worth 133 for the eighth wicket. Bates (59) brought up his third First-Class half-century, while Munro (103) went one better to bring up his second ever ton in the competition.
Despite the loss, both players fought valiantly and will take heart from their form with the bat.
The Aces will get a chance to move on from the result this Saturday, when they take on neighbouring rivals Northern Districts.
Central ready to pounce
The Central Stags are closing in on victory in their Plunket Shield match against the Auckland Aces at Nelson Park in Napier.
The Stags enforced the follow on against their Northern rivals after dismissing them for 210 in the first innings – still 220 short of Central’s total. It didn’t get any easier for the Aces, who then fell to 210 for seven at stumps on day three.
The Stags require only three more wicket and still lead by ten runs with an innings in hand. Their dominant position can be attributed to a great team effort with the ball.
Andrew Lamb struck in the first over of the day to dismiss opener Tim McIntosh for 17. Captain Gareth Hopkins went just a few overs later and the Aces were struggling at 101 for six.
Bruce Martin delivered some late relief for the visitors with an unbeaten 56, but ran out of partners as his team were bundled out after 68 overs.
Still over 200 runs shy of the home side’s first innings total, the Stags enforced the follow on and once again had the Aces top order in all sorts of bother.
Lou Vincent and Reece Young both went for eight, before McIntosh edged one on 35. Anaru Kitchen (60) and Hopkins (41) showed some resilience, but neither could go onto a much needed big score.
Tarun Nethula had the biggest impact with the ball in the second innings and finished with figures of three for 36 from 13 overs.
Colin Munro (34*) and Michael Bates (4) will resume tomorrow and attempt to achieve the miraculous and save the game for Auckland.
It would seem only the weather can save them now...
Central in Control
The Central Stags will be feeling optimistic about their Plunket Shield match against the Auckland Aces following a pair of impressive individual performances on day two.
Carl Cachopa brought up his second ton of the competition in as many matches to lead the Stags to 430 for nine declared. Opening bowler Andrew Lamb then carved open the Aces top order with three wickets in one over to leave them sitting precariously at 80 for four.
With a number of former internationals in the mix the Aces batting line-up had an intimidating look to it, but they were soon rocked by a devastating spell from Lamb.
In the sixth over the 34 year-old brought about the demise of Lou Vincent, Reece Young and Anaru Kitchen to have the Aces reeling at three for 14.
Doug Bracewell rubbed salt into the wound with the wicket of Colin de Grandhomme for 18, before Tim McIntosh (17*) and Gareth Hopkins (27*) battled hard to take the Aces to stumps without further loss.
They’ll have plenty of work to do to catch up with the Stags, after Cachopa took his side beyond 400.
Resuming on 38, the 26 year-old showed outstanding composure in an innings which lasted 297 balls. He made an unbeaten 179 for his efforts, which included 23 fours and a six.
He was aided by a number of small cameos along the way, which featured Kruger van Wyk (46) and Tarun Nethula (33), before the team declared with 26 overs remaining in the day.
The Aces will resume at 10:00am tomorrow, needing another 350 to match the Stags’ first innings total.
Rain limits progress in Napier
Only 50 overs were managed in day one of the Plunket Shield match between the Central Stags and Auckland Aces at Nelson Park in Napier.
Regular showers saw the day end prematurely with the Stags 130 for three. Carl Cachopa was the top scorer with an unbeaten 38 and will resume tomorrow with captain Kieran-Noema Barnett on four.
The Stags had started strongly with Jamie How and Jeet Raval putting on 51 for the first wicket. Raval was the first to go when he was bowled on 30 by Mitchell McClenaghan, while How went not long after for 33.
Chris Martin claimed the prized scalp of Matthew Sinclair in the 45th over to leave the Stags at 118 for three. All three of the fallen batsmen had made starts, but failed to go on.
McClenaghan, Martin and Colin Munro all picked up one wicket apiece and will be looking to get an early break-through tomorrow to put the pressure on the Stags lower-order.
Play will continue tomorrow at 10:00am in an attempt to make up for the lost overs.