A century from Mark Chapman distinguished day one of the Auckland Aces’ Plunket Shield match against Otago today.
It was a tough first session for the Aces after losing the toss and being sent in to bat. They lost opener Jeet Raval early for 7, and Sean Solia shortly afterward.
Graeme Beghin and Glenn Phillips worked to consolidate, playing some classical shots while trying not to take any risks.
Beghin reached 47 before Matt Bacon got him completely tangled up, and he was out LBW.
Captain Robbie O’Donnell joined Phillips to cautiously make their way through to lunch, the Aces 101/3 at the break.
Phillips reached 50 with a sweetly-timed four, while O’Donnell played himself in – at one point he was on 11 off 69 balls.
It often seemed like Otago’s biggest enemy was themselves. Multiple catches went down both in the outfield and in the slips – easing pressure build up by plenty of dot balls.
When a full ball from Shawn Hicks had Phillips plum LBW for 60, Chapman joined O’Donnell. The pair set about building a platform for the Aces to launch from.
Both players picked out the gaps which had started appearing, and together reached first their 50-run partnership, then Auckland’s 200 runs, and then tea.
The break didn’t do O’Donnell any good. After his incredibly patient start he was caught in the slips off an awkward ball from Bacon.
Chapman brought up his own 50 with Ben Horne at the other end. The pair ran hard, and Horne managed to find the boundary before he was caught at gully on 24.
The last hour of the day saw Will Somerville join Chapman. Together they put on a 50 partnership for the seventh wicket, marked by some beautiful shots from both players, as Chapman got ever-closer to three figures.
There were no nervous nineties – two boundaries in two balls off Michael Rippon took Chapman to 99 with three overs left in the day.
The first ball of the next over Bacon bowled Somerville for 21, leaving Chapman to wait as Matt McEwan came to the middle and then saw off the rest of the over.
He wouldn’t wait any longer. A quick single and Chapman celebrated his maiden first-class hundred.
The Aces finished day one on 314/7; Chapman on 101*, McEwan on 8*.
Image Credit: Photosport.co.nz