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Aces finish on a high in Plunket Shield

The Auckland Aces have finished their season on a winning note with a 120-run victory over the Wellington Firebirds in the final round of the Plunket Shield today.

The Aces started the day with an overall lead of 254 runs but it was the Wellington bowlers who made the early play on day three.

Jeetan Patel was influential in knocking over the remaining Auckland batsmen for an additional 40 runs, the off-spinner finishing with 5-37.

However, much like their first innings effort, the home side bowling attack was up for the challenge of defending 294 runs.

It was a full team effort with the ball, Ben Lister (2-42) starting things off before debutant Louis Delport (4-42) took over.

Delport looking every bit a First-Class cricketer with his control and accuracy wearing down the Wellington batting card throughout the afternoon.

Of particular note was his wicket of the dangerous Devon Conway (47) caught at short leg in stunning fashion by Mark Chapman.

Lockie Ferguson (2-42) and Danru Ferns (1-45) also chipped in with the ball as the Aces bowlers gained the upper hand either side of tea.

Ferns was also nimble in the park, deflecting a return shot off his own bowling onto the stumps to dismiss Tom Blundell who was proving difficult to dislodge.

With only a couple of wickets required after the tea break, Delport and then Ferguson returned to finish off the tail and complete the 120-run victory for the Aces.

The win means Central Districts claim the Plunket Shied for 2017/18 while the Aces finish in an admirable third position.

For a full scorecard from day one Auckland Aces v Wellington Firebirds, click here.

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