Playoffs just a dream now

Tuesday, Feb 23 2021

Playoffs just a dream now

Will Johnston

The one-day domestic cricket season doesn’t get any better for the Central Stags.

The side remains at the bottom of the Ford Trophy competition after losing its two matches against Auckland Aces on Friday and Sunday at Eden Park’s outer oval.

Auckland went back-to-back to claim the third spot with a six-wicket win on Friday, followed by a 93-run victory on Sunday.

After eight round-robin matches and only one win, it’s virtually impossible for the Stags to make the playoffs with two rounds remaining.

On Friday, the Stags batted first and scored what looked like a strong total of 309/7.

With no spectators because of Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions, Stags’ opening pair of George Worker and Dane Cleaver put on 120 runs for the first wicket.

Worker was the first to be dismissed for 59, followed by Will Young, 7, and Ross Taylor without scoring, all at the hands of spinner Lewis Delport. Delport finished with figures of 3-50 off his 10 overs.

Enter Tom Bruce. The skipper produced a solid knock of 96 not out off 62 deliveries and guided the Stags to its large total.

Auckland got off to a record-breaking start with openers Sean Solia and debutant Cole Briggs scoring a 226-run partnership for the first wicket – the highest for Auckland in one-day domestic cricket. Both scored hundreds, with Solia claiming 121 off 119 balls and Briggs 101 off 104.

Auckland chased down the Stags’ score with a little over two overs remaining.

It was a tough day in the field with Jayden Lennox the pick of the bowlers with 2-48 off 10 overs.

Sunday started off as it finished with Auckland scoring 311/9 after batting first.

Solia and Briggs kicked things off positively with Briggs departing for 99. That 106-run partnership for the first wicket cemented the Aces innings, despite a collapse in the middle order for Auckland.

Lennox along with Christian Leopard, Ajaz Patel and Josh Clarkson all grabbed doubles.

The Stags, always behind the run-rate thanks to some tight Auckland bowling, were bowled out for 218 with nearly 10 overs to spare. Young top-scored with 79.

Photo: Tom Bruce scored 96 not out in Friday's game against the Auckland Aces.