26 Jun, Sunday

ACES win Ford Trophy


ACES win Ford Trophy

Praneel HiraAces

Ford Trophy Final | ACES win the Ford Trophy | ACES win by eight wickets

The Auckland ACES have stormed to a third Ford Trophy title in the space of five years.

Somewhat surprisingly, Robbie O’Donnell had elected to bowl on what looked a belter of a wicket. There was method to O’Donnell’s decision in chilly conditions.

Lockie Ferguson nabbed the ACES first scalp with the help of a running and leaping O’Donnell at mid-off. The skippers stunning piece of athleticism set the tone for what was an outstanding effort in the field.

Will Somerville then threw the stumps down to pull off the first of two brilliant direct-hit run-outs. The spinners held the Stags through the middle before Ferguson (4/32) returned to turn the game in the ACES favour.

The BLACKCAPS quick would finish The Ford Trophy as the equal top wicket-taker alongside Otago Volt Matt Bacon. Ferguson took 14 wickets at a 14.64 average from just six matches, including one four-wicket haul and a bag of 6/34.

Conditions in Queenstown featured a stiff southerly whipping along The Remarkables which meant the teams’ respective quicks, Ferguson and the Stags Adam Milne, were both menacing with the wind behind their back.
Bowlers into the wind had their work cut out, but Ferguson’s opening partner, left-armer Ben Lister, impressed with a tidy set of ten overs, as did the reliable Somerville.
For the Stags, captain Tom Bruce top-scored with a knock of 63 at almost run-a-ball to help his side post a total of 213 from 49.5 overs.

In reply, ACES opener George Worker (65 not out off 109 balls) again batted throughout the innings to secure the trophy with a convincing eight-wicket victory.

Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips gave the ACES inning some impetus and allowed Worker to get himself in. Worker then shared a 157-run unbroken partnership with Mark Chapman (92 not out off 75 balls) for the third wicket to bring the trophy home.

It was the second time in three Ford Trophy campaigns that Chapman has played a starring role in an ACES chase. Having hit the winning runs with three sixes in four balls two summers ago, the ACES No. 4 had the honour of taking the side to victory in the 37th over.

In his first summer in ACES blue, the left-hander added to his collection of Ford Trophy records again today, his knock of 65 not out taking him past Lou Vincent’s record for most List A one-day runs for the ACES in a single season (Vincent 642; Worker 672).

Worker also holds the same record for the Stags (659 in 2016/17) with whom he has previously lifted the trophy.

Worker’s debut summer also saw him break the national record for most Ford Trophy centuries in one summer (4, after Thursday’s final regular season match against the Stags).

Unsurprisingly Worker finished as the runaway overall top run-scorer in this year’s Ford Trophy, his 672 runs at an impressive 84.00 average including four centuries and one half century among his 10 innings. His top score this season of 139 not out was also the highest of the competition.