The Central Stags are now removed from contention for the Ford Trophy finals with one round robin game remaining after the 118-run hammering by the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve yesterday.
Ben Smith handed the captaincy back over to another Whanganui Collegiate old boy in Tom Bruce, just returned from Black Caps duties, and Bruce put the home side into bat for what would be a 46-over match after a weather delay.
It proved fateful as the Firebirds ran up an imposing 293-5, after in-form No 3 batsman Devon Conway continued his strong summer with 112 from 89 balls, including eight boundaries and three sixes.
Conway has now scored at least a half century or better from his last five List A matches.
He shared a 114-run partnership with opener Andrew Fletcher (70) to set up the Firebirds innings, while the Stags missed the only-just returned Doug Bracewell, who was a late scratching due to an injury niggle.
His replacement in Manawatu's Ray Toole bowled alright, taking 2-31 from eight overs, but no-one else could pressure Wellington and when Conway was finally dismissed, Fraser Colson came in to smack 59 not out from 25 balls, hitting five boundaries and four sixes.
In reply, the Stags collapsed to 48-4 inside of 17 overs to begin their run chase.
Smith managed 14 from 30 balls before being caught off the bowling of another talented member of the Bracewell cricketing family in part-time spinner Michael, who had List A best figures of 3-30.
Bruce had already been dismissed when he tried to take on the long throw of Peter Younghusband for a third run and was caught well short.
Hawke's Bay's Kieran Noema-Barnett continued his solid form for what has been an injury-hit Stags this season, making 68 from 95 balls, supported by Nelson players Josh Clarkson (22) and Willem Ludick (26).
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But Noema-Barnett was caught off the bowling of Jamie Gibson, and then it was just a matter for Bracewell and Ben Sears (3-42) to clean up the tail, with the Stags all out for 175 in the 39th over.
The loss left them at the bottom of the standings with a 2-6-1 record, and the only side who cannot mathematically make the Top 3 with one round remaining.