‘Topsy-turvy’ season for Otago Volts

Rob Walter
Rob Walter
Otago got through to the one-day playoffs with five wins last season but that was not quite enough this summer.

It was for Wellington, though.

The Super Smash champions slipped into today’s playoffs courtesy of the two points they picked up for an abandoned match against Central Districts.

That is how close it was. The margin between success and failure is awfully thin.

That said, the Volts were not consistent enough to warrant a place in the playoffs. They struggled the most with the bat but had some poor days in the field as well.

Coach Rob Walter said it was disappointing not to be able to build on last season’s appearance in the final.

He felt his side started to "play quite nicely" towards the end of the round robin phase.

"We did not play our best in the [back-to-back] games against ND.

"But as for the rest, we beat everyone once so it is difficult to say it was a poor season but it wasn’t amazing either.

"I think we played really good cricket at times but fell short on other occasions — a bit of a topsy-turvy affair.

"We went through a wee phase where we were just short on confidence with the bat.

"And the bowling was, well, probably inconsistent is the best word. We had days when we where really good and others when were not as good.

"I think when you look back on the season you won’t find anything in particular that wasn’t working.

"I think it was a combination of things. But at times out batting was not delivering as well as it did last season."

Experienced opener Hamish Rutherford started and finished strongly but he was off his game for a stretch.

Fellow left-hander Nick Kelly did not have same the impact as the previous season, and the Volts sorely missed Dean Foxcroft who scored 406 runs at an average of 50.75 last summer.

Senior statesman Neil Broom was the most consistent of the top order. He posted four half centuries but was left carrying a heavy load.

All-rounder Michael Rippon made promising gains with the bat. He scored more than 300 runs but struggled with the ball.

Captain and strike bowler Jacob Duffy also had a tough tournament. His nine wickets were costly and even Michael Rae, who had some very good days, laboured in patches.

His 16 wickets at 22.06 looks good on paper. But in reality he often got clobbered.

Left-arm spinner Anaru Kitchen (13 at 31.76) was arguably the pick of the bowlers while seamer Matthew Bacon and Travis Muller performed well when they got opportunities.

Otago Volts

How it panned out
Playing record: Won 5, lost 5
Leading batsman: Neil Broom (328 runs at 36.44)
Leading bowler: Michael Rae (16 wickets at 22.06)
Best game: Chased down Wellington’s total of 340 with six wickets in hand at the Basin Reserve.
Worst game: Crashed to be all out for 177 in reply to ND’s tally of 243 at the University Oval.
Mixed campaign: All-rounder Michael Rippon shone with the bat (306 runs 43.71) but struggled with the ball (7 wickets at 57.42).

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