13 Aug, Saturday

ACES suffer defeat; presented Plunket Shield


ACES suffer defeat; presented Plunket Shield

Praneel HiraAces

The Auckland ACES have been presented with the Plunket Shield after a remarkable campaign. While the side suffered defeat in their final game in Lincoln, Robbie O’Donnell’s side took on the challenge of chasing down 372 in the fourth inning.

Resuming at 6/0 and needing a further 366 runs, the ACES headed into the last day of their victorious summer with plenty still to play for.

Just as his opening partner Martin Guptill had done the night before, George Worker got his innings underway with a six, but the partnership was broken shortly after with Worker trapped in front.

The spinners continued to dominate and Canterbury captain Cole McConchie made two big breakthroughs before lunch, claiming the wickets of Guptill and Mark Chapman to leave the ACES in trouble at 72/3.

Williams separated the O’Donnell brothers at 119/4 on the stroke of lunch, Robbie O’Donnell signing off a stellar summer with a knock of 31.

Will O’Donnell and Ben Horne then dug in for a 75-run stand for the fifth wicket in the middle session, frustrating Canterbury for more than an hour until Horne played on.

By tea, the ACES still required 158 runs, Will O’Donnell on 75* while Canterbury needed five wickets at 214/5.

When the ACES lost a sixth almost immediately after the break, Canterbury seized their opportunity. Will O’Rourke quickly added Will Somerville and Simon Keene as the ACES tail succombed.

Nine down, with the shadows lengthening, Will O’Donnell (119*) posted the final century of the season, his third First-Class Century.

Williams claimed his third wicket in the innings to help Canterbury seal second place on the Plunket Shield ladder.

Earlier in the Match

The ACES were asked to fight back on several occasions throughout the match with Canterbury in a strong position at the end of Day One.

Rain and bad light had a say, while Chad Bowes went to stumps at 90 not out as the hosts made the most of 34 overs of play.

Bowes would go on to his sixth First-Class century, but it was the metronomic Louis Delport who led the ACES rally. The ACES left-arm spinner collected career-best figures of 7-78, besting his 7-88 against Northern Districts in Whangarei last summer.

Though the ACES kept Canterbury to a first innings score of 325, they’d soon be in trouble at 88/6 when bad light stopped play at the end of Day Two.

Somerville and Sean Solia added 56 for the seventh wicket, but the Canterbury spin duo of Theo van Woerkom (5-42) and McConchie (4-73) eventually gave their side a 153-run lead.

Canterbury then raced out to 218/6 before declaring with a lead of 371. Henry Nicholls hit 72 off 74 balls, while Somerville was rewarded for his luckless first innings efforts with 4-75. 

Bad light would again end play early with the ACES at 6/0 after a solitary over.

Image Credit: PhotoSportNZ