The most destructive innings of Peter Fulton's 16-year career came at a perfect time.

In a rain-reduced 20-over Ford Trophy final, the 38-year-old blasted a match-winning 116 not out from 58 balls to steer Canterbury to their first one-day title in 11 years.

It was simultaneously superb and surprising. Fulton came into the final averaging fewer than 25 in all formats this season, and hadn't made a short-form century in over six years. All up, he wasn't the most likely choice to smoke the fastest hundred in Ford Trophy history.

That seemed an emphatic truth when Fulton started slowly, scratching his way around to 13 from 20 balls as Canterbury plodded their way to 59-2 from their first 10 overs.


Incredibly, 141 runs were to come from their final 10 as Fulton went ballistic. He used his 1.98m frame to his advantage to loft spinners over mid-wicket, and punished seamers through the legside.

Three consecutive sixes were blasted amongst a 25-run over off Anarug Verma, with Wellington's bowlers guilty of straying down leg too often; though Fulton also casually flicked deliveries on off stump over the square leg boundary.

He added 117 from 65 balls for the third wicket with Henry Nicholls (31 from 25), and received a cameo from Tim Johnston as Fulton reached his ton from just 50 balls in his 180th one-day game.

11 fours and seven sixes later, Fulton had led Canterbury to 199-3 - a better total than they had managed in their entire Twenty20 campaign.

As mist started to gather, you could have been forgiven to flashing back to 2005 when fellow 38-year-old Hamish Marshall came firing out of the gates for Wellington, who initially looked lively on the Mainpower Oval wicket.

Marshall played some technically excellent strokes as 23 runs were accumulated from a Kyle Jamieson over, with Wellington racing through to 50-1 in just four overs.

Marshall's half-century came from just 20 balls, and with support from Tom Blundell, Wellington were set for a challenge at the halfway stage, perched at 105-3.

One over later their hopes lay in tatters.

Todd Astle duped Marshall, luring him down the pitch with a wrong-un, beating the bat and having him stumped by keeper Cam Fletcher. Three balls later, the wrong-un worked again as the powerful Matt Taylor was bowled.

Michael Pollard gave some fight with a battling 25, but the Canterbury spin duo of Astle and Johnston once again proved their wares. The productive pair took four wickets in their combined eight overs, going at only eight an over as Wellington's challenge took on even greater difficulty.

In the end, they fell 28 runs short, and nobody could dampen the mood as Canterbury's decade-long drought came to an end.