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Cricket: Wellington claim one-day crown

Luke Ronchi hit the winning runs as Wellington won a compelling Ford Trophy final by four wickets. Photo / Getty
Luke Ronchi hit the winning runs as Wellington won a compelling Ford Trophy final by four wickets. Photo / Getty

Northern Districts 232-9
Wellington 233-6

Only a handful of fans saw it live, but Wellington won a compelling Ford Trophy final by four wickets with four balls to spare at Blake Park in Mt Maunganui to complete the domestic summer.

The two top one-day teams enacted a plot where bat and ball duelled equally. There was ample ebb and flow. With Northern Districts making 232 for nine, Wellington reached the target with Luke Ronchi boundaries off consecutive Scott Kuggeleijn full tosses to start the final over.

It is Wellington's first trophy in 10 years and their first one-day title in 12. They made the most of their fourth-place finish on the ladder.

The key partnership was between captain James Franklin (75 from 87) and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi (41 off 32). The New Zealand representatives put on 50 for the sixth wicket before Jono Boult enticed Franklin to drive to Daryl Mitchell at long-off.

It must have provided at least some relief for Boult who'd dropped Franklin on eight when he hooked Graeme Aldridge to long leg in the 23rd over.

Drama also ensued in the 46th over when Franklin cleared the fence and a ND supporter dunked the ball in his beer. It prompted commentator Craig McMillan to suggest Trent Boult might be saying 'I can't bowl with this, it's over the limit'.

The ball showed signs of inebriation. Boult went for two further boundaries in the over, conceding 17 runs in total. It proved the tipping point in the match.

Spinner Mitchell Santner was the best of the ND bowlers, taking two for 35 from his allotment.

Earlier, ND won the toss and batted as they endeavoured to back-up their HRV Cup Twenty20 triumph.

There was no lack of hunger from both sides. The wickets of openers Anton Devcich and Daniel Flynn came early as Wellington opening bowlers Brent Arnel and Mark Gillespie stuck to a tight line and length. ND was pinned at 29 for two in the 10th over.

ND recovered through a 104-run third wicket partnership between Brad Wilson (68) and B-J Watling (50) as well as a 48-run fifth wicket stand between Mitchell (30) and Santner (44).

Santner's runs came off 38 balls, meaning he and Aldridge (seven off five in his record 123rd list A appearance for ND) were the only host batsmen to score at greater than a 100 per cent strike rate.

Gillespie (three for 46 from 10 overs) and Arnel (three for 30 from nine overs) were the best of the bowlers but former international spinners Jeetan Patel (two for 45) and Luke Woodcock (one for 44) added subtlety and variety to keep ND pegged in the middle overs.

They also took key wickets: Patel had Santner stumped and Watling caught at long off by Woodcock, whose hands were also safe off his own bowling to remove Wilson.

- Herald on Sunday

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