A record partnership between Ben Horne and Danru Ferns has driven the ACES into the box seat ahead of Moving Day against the Otago Volts at Eden Park’s Outer Oval.
The Volts attack was up for the fight in the opening session, claiming the wickets of Sean Solia, Mark Chapman, Martin Guptill and Kyle Jamieson before lunch.
Guptill again showed patience on his way to 65 from 146 balls. The ACES ran into trouble and any lead looked optimistic. When Danru Ferns joined Ben Horne at 164/8, the ACES still trailed by 22 runs.
Over the next three and a half hours, the ACES duo turned the day, and possibly the match, in the home side’s favour. The pair soaked up the pressure and stood up to a fiery spell of short-pitched bowling after lunch.
Horne did the bulk of the scoring, hitting 18 fours and 3 sixes, on his way to 162 off 236 balls. The ACES vice-captain showed grit and perseverance playing shots all around the wicket to register his second First-Class hundred – going back-to-back at the Outer Oval.
No 10. Ferns (63*) was equally as determined in defence. Flourishing drives and punishing pulls pushed Ferns past fifty for the first time as he helped Horne build a commanding ACES lead. Having earned the right to put their foot down, Horne and Ferns made the most of some tiring Volts bowlers.
The partnership went past Auckland’s previous ninth-wicket record (151) held by Reece Young and Greg Morgan in 2007/08 and set the new mark at 204 – and fourth all-time in the Plunket Shield. With Horne breezing past 150 and with his foot to the floor, his epic came to an end after 314 minutes.
With a lead of 183, Robbie O’Donnell called the final pair in late in the day in search of a breakthrough. Ferns shook off any fatigue to deliver in his first over with Camden Hawkins deciding not to play a delivery that hit him in front of off stump.
The Volts will resume their second inning at 13/1 when play resumes on Day Two.
Otago Volts 186 and 13/1 (M Rippon 106, M Chu 42, K Jamieson 5-39, D Ferns, 3-44) trail Auckland ACES 369/9 dec. (B Horne 162, M Guptill 65, D Ferns 63*, J Duffy, 3-60)
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