Coach still proud of Volts T20 efforts

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014

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Otago Volts coach Vaughn Johnson is not expecting people to front up with accolades for his team following the domestic Twenty20 competition but he still believes his players probably warrant some.

Johnson said yesterday the loss to the Northern Knights on Saturday night was still "raw" when he reflected on the campaign as a whole but he felt the Volts' failed defence of the New Zealand domestic title had a silver lining to it and was something still to be proud of.

The Volts finished top of the table after round-robin play and to do that without five frontline players, in terms of the McCullum brothers, Jimmy Neesham, Ian Butler and Jesse Ryder, was something Johnson looked at fondly.

"To look how many players we had out and to qualify top and get to the major final, in some ways is a better effort than winning the thing last year. I honestly feel that people forget that because we haven't won it but it's been a huge effort to get to where we got to."

Johnson said their total, batting first in Hamilton, was probably 20 runs short.

With only 143 on the board, the Volts needed everything to go their way but two dropped catches, one by Jason Holder and one by captain Derek de Boorder, eased any pressure that was building on the Knights.

"When we had them three for 20 I thought we were in and then we had a couple of bad overs and a couple of dropped catches," Johnson said.

"When those things happen on big finals nights, nine times out of 10 you come second."

Johnson bit his lip when asked about the state of the wicket in Hamilton, preferring not to talk about it.

It is understood the Otago management are not all that happy about what was produced for the final.

The final series had been set for Hamilton early in the season for television purposes and despite the Volts qualifying top, as it turned out their opponent in the final was the Hamilton-based team.

It may be a cynical outlook on the situation but the pitch produced suited the slow Northern attack to a tee where they used their spinners to good effect.

It was worn and dead with two Twenty20 games, a women's fixture and a one-day-international played on it before Saturday night's final which is the showpiece of New Zealand domestic cricket.

The Volts will lick their wounds and quickly turn their focus back to the four-day Plunket Shield competition where they will next play Canterbury starting on Thursday.

"I've given them [today] off and then they've got to come back to work and see what character we've got in the unit in terms of being able to focus our energies on the other competitions," Johnson said.

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- The Southland Times

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