BJ Watling hit a century and Kane Williamson bagged five wickets to carry the Northern Knights to a 21 run win over the Auckland Aces in the Men’s One-Day final at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland.
Watling struggled a little early on and was happy to sit back and watch fellow opener Daniel Flynn carve it up with the former BLACKCAP striking a fluent 59 from 58 deliveries.
After ten overs the 24 year old international found his rhythm and subsequently started finding the boundary as he crafted an outstanding unbeaten 145 off 158 balls to guide the defending champions through to a formidable 304 for three.
He was well supported by Men’s One-Day MVP winner Kane Williamson as the pair shared a 163 run partnership for the second wicket with Williamson hitting 69 off 71 deliveries - improving his aggregate in the competition this season to 621 runs at an average of 77.61.
Aces all-rounder Scott Styris kept the batsmen honest, conceding just 41 runs from his ten overs and picking up the wicket of Flynn.
The Aces reply started soundly with Tim McIntosh (50) and Ravi Bopara (62) making half centuries at the top of the order. The batsmen who followed were able to score quickly but no one could maintain the tempo and get the big score they so desperately required.
It was Williamson who swung the momentum back towards the Knights, breaking the McIntosh/Bopara partnership and picking up the dangerous Styris cheaply.
He proved to be to go to man in the middle stages as well, removing Lou Vincent (32 off 24) and Colin de Grandhomme (36 off 16) after both batmen treatened to take the game away.
It capped a superb match for Williamson, having claimed career-best figures of five for 51.
Graeme Aldridge and Bradley Scott chipped in with two for 44 and two for 51 respectively.
The victory hands the defending champions a well deserved sixth title in 15 years.
The Aces, who finished sixth last year, proved that they are now a force in limited overs cricket, making the final of both the HRV Cup Twenty20 and Men’s One-Day competitions.