Cricket: Rampant CD plunder runs for title

By David Leggat

A jubilant Central Districts side celebrate winning the Ford Trophy. Photo / Photosport
A jubilant Central Districts side celebrate winning the Ford Trophy. Photo / Photosport

Thunderous Central Districts bats carried their side to a second consecutive Ford Trophy 50-over title at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth yesterday.

And no one plundered harder, or longer, than opener George Worker, whose 159 off 151 balls, his eighth domestic century, pushed CD - who had won the toss - to 405 for six. Canterbury, batting one short after a hip injury sidelined Ken McClure, finished at 249 for nine in 37.4 overs, handing CD victory by a whopping 156 runs.

You can't fault Worker's timing, in more than one sense. A world T20 squad is to be named in the next couple of days, plus as he was in the ODI squad earlier this month, he's kept his name right at the forefront for a recall.

There has only been one total higher in List A New Zealand cricket, also by CD against Northern Districts, 417 for six at Seddon Park in 2012-13. Picturesque Pukekura Park lends itself to heavy scoring but you've still got to get the runs.

Worker, who was struck on his helmet first ball, put on 80 in 12.4 overs with fellow opener Ben Smith (40 off 38 balls) to lay the platform; 109 in 19 overs with Jesse Ryder (62 off 50); 92 in a rapid 11.1 overs with captain Will Young (51 off 32); before a furious 63 off 23 balls with Tom Bruce for the fourth wicket.

CD scored a barely believable 102 runs in the last five overs, Bruce smearing seven sixes in his 23-ball 71.

It was hardcore carnage and Canterbury's bowling figures were statistics to shield the eyes from. Logan van Beek's six overs cost 70; captain Andrew Ellis' 10 went for 97. They missed their marks too often, and on a ground where boundary-hitting is not particularly complicated, it cost them dearly.

Ellis actually scored a rapid century in Canterbury's vain chase, but it won't be remembered for long. He hit 101 in 76 balls, putting on 121 in 16.3 overs with Todd Astle, but after seamer Seth Rance had trimmed Canterbury's sails early, 33 for three, even on the postage stamp ground with the chip length boundaries the challenge was beyond the visitors.

Plunket Shield returns this week to round off the season's domestic programme.

Seven rounds are left to decide the first-class title, starting on Friday when CD hosts ND in Napier; Canterbury play Auckland in Christchurch and Otago face Wellington in Queenstown.

Points: Auckland 42, Wellington 41, Canterbury 40, ND & CD 19, Otago 15.

- Herald on Sunday

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