Aces miss outright by slimmest of margins
Monday, 11 February 2013
Bruce Martin picked up 3/81 in the second innings
The Wellington Firebirds clung on for a draw in their First-Class match against the Auckland Aces at Hawkins Basin Reserve in Wellington, as the home side finished the day with two wickets in hand and 67 runs short of their target.
Auckland had earlier been dismissed for 345 to set Wellington a tough target of 266 in 51 overs. Despite a spirited 86 from opener Josh Brodie, the Firebirds were on the back-foot early having lost cheap wickets.
Chris Martin ripped through the top order to have them reeling at 53 for three and give the Aces a very real opportunity at victory.
However, Luke Woodcock (26), Luke Ronchi (36) and Harry Boam (24*) showed just enough resistance to make sure that Auckland wouldn’t walk away with the outright victory.
Chris Martin finished with three for 26, while Bruce Martin also claimed three wickets and Michael Bates two.
Earlier, Gareth Hopkins had resumed on 95 with the bat and wasted little time in bringing up his 16th First-Class century. It came under a pressure situation and could well have saved the match for the Aces.
The tail chimed in nicely and made sure that the Firebirds would well and truly have their work cut out for them if they were to pick up anything more than a draw.
Although it wasn’t easy for him, Mark Gillespie was rewarded for another top-notch performance with the ball and went one better than he’d done in the first-innings with a six wicket-bag in the second.
The wily fast bowler claimed his second ever ten wicket-bag match and had career best First-Class figures of 11 for 149. He caused constant problems for the Aces and proved just what a valuable asset he it to the Firebirds.
While there were a number of brilliant individual performance throughout the match, neither side could quite land the knock-out blow.