A pair of fine centuries to Glenn Phillips and Martin Guptill has set up an important Ford Trophy victory over the Otago Volts at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval.
The Volts arguably had the better of the first ten overs. Nathan Smith’s tidy five-over spell with the new ball went for just nine runs. Colin Munro punched a brace of boundaries through point before gloving an attempted hook through to Mitch Renwick behind the stumps.
Guptill kicked his inning into gear after scything his first boundary through the off-side. Phillips also took his time to access the conditions before he too drove powerfully through extra cover.
The second-wicket stand slowly gathered momentum. By the time the pair closed in on their respective half-centuries, the run-rate had lifted towards five an over. Phillips won the race to fifty, off 53 balls, while Guptill’s came from 74 balls, having soaked up much of the early pressure.
The roles reversed for their second fifties. Guptill took the game to the Volts’ bowlers, hitting 7 fours and a six on his way to his 27th List A century and his eighth for the ACES. Phillips kept up with Guptill for much of his knock, reaching his fourth List A century with a dismissive drive through extra cover during the next over.
Guptill hit a further two sixes in vintage style before eventually picking out Matt Bacon on the off-side on 117. The 235-run stand surpassed the ACES previous record for the second wicket by Anaru Kitchen and Gareth Hopkins in the summer of 2012/13 and falling just seven short of the ACES record for all wickets.
Phillips then pulled all of his shots from his locker as he peppered the boundaries of the Bert Sutcliffe Oval. The ACES took 18 runs from the 46th over and 17 from the 47th as Phillips raced to 156 – the 22-year old’s highest List A score. Phillips showcased remarkably quick hands in an innings that included some unorthodox stances and extraordinary strokeplay.
Smith returned at the death to pull the ACES back to 310/5 and was deserving of his three wickets late in the piece.
Ben Lister struck almost immediately when Hamish Rutherford clipped aerially to Sean Solia at wide mid-on. Neil Broom and Nick Kelly then went about establishing the Volts a platform and were doing so impressively, despite an accurate Kyle Jamieson spell with the new ball.
The pressure came on the ACES when Broom took 16 off Solia’s first over, but Will Somerville’s introduction slowed the Volts’ progress; the off-spinner picked up the wicket of a reverse-sweeping Nick Kelly on 19. Mitch Renwick came in and, with Broom, put the ACES on notice.
Lister returned to the attack with Ben Horne crucially up to the stumps. Guptill swooped on Broom’s looped leading edge in the covers and swiftly returned it to Horne, whose slick glovework ensured the ACES made the most of Renwick’s brief hesitation.
Next to go was Neil Broom, on 66, having loomed as the Volts’ key man. Left-arm spinner Mark Chapman found Broom’s outside edge and Horne clung on as the ACES reduced the Volts to 124/4. Lister then made it three wickets in as many overs for the ACES to take control of the match.
Smith fought on, hitting three sixes to put the pressure back on the ACES. Scoreboard pressure, however, was on the ACES side as Munro and Somerville made further inroads. Smith eventually chipped Solia to a waiting Lister on 43. The tail was left to Jamieson and Solia as the ACES won by 97 runs, securing a third bonus-point win from four matches.
The ACES play Canterbury on Friday before the Ford Trophy takes a break until the New Year.