Parlane inspires Firebirds win

The Wellington Firebirds dragged themselves off the bottom of the Plunket Shield table with a Neal Parlane-inspired win over the Auckland Aces.

Chasing 276 for victory on the fourth day at the Basin Reserve, the hosts were stumbling at 144 for five but captain Parlane struck a superb unbeaten 127 and wicketkeeper Joe Austin-Smellie (63 not out) stayed with him as Wellington reached their target with five wickets to spare.

Their first outright win of the season took them to 10 points, 16 behind leaders the Central Stags, with six rounds to go, and would have brought much cheer to a dressing room which has endured plenty of torrid times this season after poor Twenty20 and one-day campaigns.

Auckland resumed today on 238 for seven and declared their second innings at 277 for nine, Wellington left-armer Andy McKay finishing with five for 92 to go with his four-wicket haul in the first innings.

Day 3: Pollard ton secures Firebirds first innings

In Wellington a maiden first-class century from 21-year-old batsman Michael Pollard guided Wellington  Firebirds to the two first innings points on the third day of their match against Auckland Aces at the Basin Reserve here today.

Pollard cracked 82 runs in boundaries on his way to 131 and shared in a 174-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Stewart Rhodes, who was unbeaten on 71 when the hosts, who resumed today on 213 for four, declared their first innings at 332 for seven with a lead of two runs.

Left-armer Michael Bates was the best of the Auckland bowlers, taking three for 56 from 25 overs.

Auckland showed their intent to force a result by scoring a more than four runs an over in their second innings, but they lost regular wickets and will be a tad nervous overnight after heading to stumps at 238 for seven.

BLACKCAPS Test bowler Andy McKay took three for 79 from an expensive but lively spell.

Day 2: Aces v Firebirds even after two days

At the Basin Reserve here, hosts the Wellington Firebirds were in a spot of bother at 127 for four in reply to Auckland's first innings of 330, but Michael Pollard and Stewart Rhodes consolidated with an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 86 as Wellington went to stumps in a strong position at 213 for four.

Pollard has hit 11 fours and a six in his 78 not out while Rhodes is unbeaten on 33. Left armer Michael Bates has been the best of the Auckland bowlers with two for 32 from 16 testing overs.

Auckland had resumed today at 301 for eight and added another 29 runs for their final two wickets.

Wellington's opening bowlers Andy McKay and Mark Gillespie each claimed another scalp to end the innings with four for 86 and three for 88, respectively.

Day 1: Aces pass 300 on day one at the Basin

New Zealand international Andy McKay completed a handy day's work in his return to First-Class cricket after injury, taking three for 74 from 21 overs as Wellington restricted Auckland to 301 for eight at stumps on the first day.

Left-armer McKay claimed three top order scalps and former international Mark Gillespie chipped in with two as the hosts took early advantage of their decision to bowl first at the Basin Reserve, with Auckland reduced to 133 for five soon after lunch.

But a fighting captain's knock from No 3 Andrew Boorder, who scored his second first-class hundred before being dismissed for 124, and an impressive 67 from 20-year-old Jimmy Neesham, in his second first-class match, pulled the visitors out of trouble.

The pair added 111 for the sixth wicket but both fell in the final hour as Wellington claimed first day honours.

Michael Bates (13 not out) will resume tomorrow with Bhupinder Singh (0 not out).

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