Manawatu's Jamie How had a happy homecoming as he smashed 84 to get Central Districts' one-day competition off to a roaring start yesterday.
CD pumped the Wellington Firebirds by eight wickets at Fitzherbert Park in the first first-class game at the ground in three years.
The home side won the toss and rolled Wellington for just 147, then made light work of the chase.
How went after the Wellington bowlers from the start, smashing five sixes on his home ground and CD got to 150 for 2 in 23.3 overs in what was an early finish.
"It was pretty scratchy and I had a bit of luck early on," he said. "It's nice to play at home; it's the first game out here in a while."
How said it was a great day for cricket in Manawatu with the local players in the team and described the facilities as outstanding.
The former Black Caps opener said it was good to start on a winning note so they were not chasing the competition.
They had let themselves down this earlier this season with only two games won before yesterday.
"We were expecting a tough encounter, but we wouldn't have thought it would be so one-sided like that," How said.
"I guess the hard work and the training, we're starting to see the benefits from that."
How was out trying one too many big shots as he skied one, but his opening partner Ben Smith saw things home with 47 not out.
Earlier, Wellington were inserted and recovered from losing Michael Papps first ball when Wairarapa bowler Seth Rance had him out lbw. Rance took 2 for 18 and bowled with good pace.
Another former Black Cap, Grant Elliot, who scored 51, led the way for Wellington and was finding the boundary to have them sitting at 81 for 2.
But CD leggie Tarun Nethula had him trapped lbw which triggered the collapse and Wellington lost their last eight wickets for 66 runs.
Tom Blundell tried to stay in with the tail, but Nethula, who took 3 for 35 and Marty Kain (2 for 35) put a stop to that and Blundell had the only other score of note with 48.
CD coach Heinrich Malan was happy they could sing the team song, a rare occurrence this season, and hoped they could carry on this form.
"It's a good start," he said. "We've spoken a lot about how to start tournaments. It's a brand new campaign so there's a lot planning and training that went into this and the boys got across the line well today."
CD started well with the ball which allowed them to bat normally and not have to go out with a high tempo because they were only chasing 147, even though he had been expecting scores of more than 280.
"We only batted 25 overs for 150," Malan said. "That's six an over, so if you look at 50 overs batting at six an over with a couple of wickets in hand, that's probably what you're looking at."
Wellington captain James Franklin said they were just outplayed.
"CD were really good today in the field and we never really got going," he said.
"Grant Elliot and Tom Blundell were probably the exceptions for us with their batting, but apart from that we didn't turn up to the races really."
Franklin said the pitch dried out and was easier to bat on by the time CD were out there.
Wellington were in a healthy position at 81 for 2 "and then it just went kaput. There's not much really we can say; we just had a really poor day".
In other games yesterday, Auckland beat Northern Districts by seven wickets and Otago beat Canterbury by five wickets, which puts CD on top of the table.
Their next game is against Auckland in Nelson on Wednesday.
Manawatu are unlikely to have wicketkeeper batsman Dane Cleaver for their Hawke Cup defence against Southland next weekend because he will be with CD.
However, they will probably have the services of CD allrounder Roald Badenhorst.
SCOREBOARD CENTRAL STAGS v WELLINGTON FIREBIRDS WELLINGTON
S Murdoch c van Wyk b Rance 12 M Papps lbw b Rance 0 G Elliott lbw b Nethula 51 T Blundell c How b Mathieson 48 J Franklin c How b Noema-Barnett 1 L Ronchi c Mathieson b Nethula 14 H Walsh run out (Rance) 2 L Woodcock sts van Wyk b Kain 1 M Gillespie c van Wyk b Nethula 5 A McKay c Nethula b Kain 4 B Arnel not out 4 Extras (lb2, wd3, nb0) 5 Total (for 10 wickets, 34.2 overs) 147 Fall: 1-3 (Papps, 0.4), 2-34 (Murdoch, 6.2), 3-81 (Elliott, 15.3), 4-82 (Franklin, 16.2), 5-103 (Ronchi, 19.5), 6-108 (Walsh, 22.1), 7-117 (Woodcock, 23.5), 8-124 (Gillespie, 24.5), 9-140 (McKay, 31.6), 10-147 (Blundell, 34.2). Bowling: S Rance 7-1-18-2, M Kain 7-0-35-2 (2w), A Mathieson 6.2-0-36-1, K Noema-Barnett 4-0-21-1 (1w), T Nethula 10-2-35-3. CENTRAL DISTRICTS J How c Ronchi b Gillespie 84 B Smith not out 47 G Hay b AJ McKay 2 W Young not out 11 Extras (lb2, wd3, nb1) 6 Total (for 2 wickets, 23.3 overs) 150 Fall: 1-121 (How, 17.6), 2-137 (Hay, 20.3) Bowling: M Gillespie 7.3-0-61-1 (1nb), B Arnel 7-1-37-0 (1w, A McKay 5-1-26-1 (2w, L Woodcock 4-0-24-0. Result: Central Districts won by eight wickets. --------------------
- Manawatu Standard