The ACES have put on a batting masterclass on a record-breaking day against Cantebury at Hagley Oval.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing with the Ed Nuttall dismissing Martin Guptill at the end of the second over. Like the two previous games of the central round, the top three would take the game to the opposition.
Colin Munro led the power-hitting with his eighth List A century and his seventh for the ACES. The vintage knock also saw the left-hander go past 4000 List A runs and equal Tim McIntosh’s record for the most centuries for Auckland (across all formats).
Munro had Glenn Phillips beside him as the ACES partnership record for any wicket again went under threat. On Wednesday, Guptill and Phillips fell seven short. Today, Munro and Phillips would go within 11 of the 242 set by Anaru Kitchen and Gareth Hopkins. The pair would have to settle for a second-wicket record against Canterbury.
Phillips took a backseat in the partnership, but his contribution cannot be understated. His 66 played a huge role in driving the innings forward.
It was a dazzling display by Munro, who hit 12 fours and 5 sixes on his way to a 57-ball hundred. Munro didn’t stop there, plundering a further 10 fours and 2 sixes, racing towards his previous highest score of 174*. He had the bowlers at his mercy when his epic knock ended on 167, from 94 deliveries.
It looked like Canterbury had an opening when Nuttall nabbed the wicket of Phillips. Todd Astle followed with the big scalp of Munro, before Nuttall sent skipper Craig Cachopa on his way. The platform had been well and truly been set and a big total was there for the taking. Mark Chapman and Robert O’Donnell then put together 95, regularly finding the boundary.
Both players made excellent fifties. Chapman (70) was particularly dominant square of the wicket, hitting 7 fours and 3 sixes, while O’Donnell finessed 7 fours of his own accessing tricky areas of the ground. The partnership scaled 95 as the ACES raced towards a new highest team total.
Andrew Hazeldine bagged himself three wickets during the hustle and bustle of the death overs. All that was left for the ACES to do was go past 400 for the first time. Kyle Jamieson hit the final ball of the inning down the ground for two and the ACES became just the seventh team to pass 400 in the Ford Trophy.
Canterbury knew the uphill task ahead of them, so Chad Bowes and Jack Boyle came out swinging against the new ball. Jamieson made the ACES first breakthrough when Bowes picked out Phillips deep on the leg-side. Sean Solia quickly followed it when Stephen Murdoch was caught behind in the 7th over.
Munro couldn’t stay out of the action chiming in with the wicket of Ken McClure to end his first over. All the while Boyle kept finding the boundary. With so many runs in the bank, the ACES remained calm and turned to Will Somerville.
The off-spinner ran through the middle order with the wickets of Cole McConchie and Astle before ending Boyle’s defiant knock on 92 in the 25th over.
Cam Fletcher and Andrew Ellis made starts, but Somerville ensured the bloated required run-rate was never threatened. The ACES veteran finished with career-best figures of 4-48, before Jamieson combined with Ben Lister to underline an emphatic 184-run win to the ACES.
The ACES finish the opening Ford Trophy window at the top of the table and begin preparations for the Dream11 Super Smash starting December 14.