Dismal day for Volts as batters struggle

Coach Dion Ebrahim of the Otago Volts talks tactics at a recent training. PHOTO: Gregor Richardson
Coach Dion Ebrahim of the Otago Volts talks tactics at a recent training. PHOTO: Gregor Richardson
Who knew it would be so hard to score runs at Pukekura Park?

Otago was in a power position having restricted Central Districts to 236 for nine at the tiny New Plymouth venue.

But small boundaries or not, you still have to be able to hit the ball.

And at 21 for three, the Volts were struggling to do that.

Blair Tickner and Bevan Small had ganged up to remove Hamish Rutherford (9), Luke Georgeson (2) and Dale Phillips (5).

It was a ruinous start from which there was no return. They slumped to be all out for 154.

Further calamity awaited when the captain Dean Foxcroft was given out caught behind for 15.

The Stags had all but given up on the appeal by the time the belated verdict was delivered.

Max Chu (35) and Ben Lockrose (25) put together a 43-run partnership which cloaked some of the disappointment.

But Otago will need to review the batting performance carefully before their next assignment against Canterbury in Invercargill on Tuesday.

At first glance it was just plain awful from the top six.

By contrast the home team made a solid start with the bat.

Openers Brad Schmulian (51) and Jack Boyle (26) put on 49 for the first wicket.

Boyle teased the fielders, though. Several cries of ‘‘catch it’’ sounded across the ground.

Georgeson (two for 35) got him eventually. Boyle played the perfect on-drive except he missed the ball and was clean bowled.

Travis Muller secured another couple of quick breakthroughs to help seize the momentum.

He trapped the dangerous Dane Cleaver lbw for two and nicked off Curtis Heaphy for one.

Newly-minted Black Cap Josh Clarkson did not get out of second gear but still slapped a six and breezed through to 28 before he sliced a catch to Matt Bacon.

Schmulian held his end up nicely but Muller (three for 25) drew him into a shot he would rather forget and got the edge.

The Stags’ innings was teetering at 116 for five.

From there are on it was about damage control and trying to squeeze out as many runs as possible.

Will Clark and Bayley Wiggins (35) put on 53 for the sixth-wicket.

But left arm spinner Lockrose (three for 35) broke that partnership and picked up the scalps of Small (3) and Jayden Lennox (0) in the space of a few overs to set the Stags tumbling again.

Tickner clobbered a quick 21 and Clark’s unbeaten knock of 57 helped fashion what would prove a winning score.

It was, for the most part, a disciplined bowling effort which put the Volts ahead of the game.

Well, until they had to bat, that is.

In the other two fixtures, Finn Allen scored 120 from 97 to help Auckland reach 307 for five at Cobham Oval in Whangarei.

That was too many for Northern Districts, who were dismissed for 253.

At the Basin Reserve, Wellington (247/8) rolled Canterbury for 192. Nathan Smith and Adam Milne grabbed three wickets apiece.