A full round of local derbies takes place on Sunday as domestic 50 over cricket returns in the first round of the Ford Trophy.
Defending champions the Auckland Aces kick off their title defence against local rivals the SKYCITY Northern Knights at Eden Park's Outer Oval on Sunday. The Aces will have BLACKCAPS Martin Guptill, Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan to choose from, while the Knights will try to fit Kane Williamson, BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Anton Devcich, Ish Sodhi and Trent Boult into their side.
Domestic cricket returns to Palmerston North's Fitzherbert Park for the first time in three years on Sunday when the Tulsi Wellington Firebirds take on the Devon Hotel Central Stags. The Stags will be out to prove themselves after struggling in the HRV Twenty20 and Plunket Shield, while the Firebirds boast solid experience in this format in the likes of Grant Elliott and skipper James Franklin.
The southern derby features the Canterbury Wizards, who come off extremely consistent form in all formats all summer. They'll face the Otago Volts, who will welcome back import Ryan ten Doeschate to play List A for the Volts for the first time later in the competition. The two sides face off at Aorangi Oval in Timaru on Sunday
The Ford Trophy runs for eight rounds, with some teams facing off against the same opponent in consecutive rounds, as in this year's HRV Twenty 20 and Plunket Shield schedule. The top four teams will qualify for a four-match finals series, before the televised final on 5 April at a venue to be confirmed.
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Opening round fixtures -
Sunday 2 March 2014
Central Stags v Wellington Firebirds
10:30am–Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North
Canterbury Wizards v Otago Volts
10:30am–Aorangi Oval, Timaru
Auckland Aces v Northern Knights
10:30am–Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland