Horne’s huge haul has home side ahead

Auckland wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Horne hits the ball during day two of his side’s Plunket Shield...
Auckland wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Horne hits the ball during day two of his side’s Plunket Shield match against Otago at Eden Park Outer Oval yesterday. Mitch Renwick, at slip, and wicketkeeper Max Chu are in the background.PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Ninth-wicket partnerships are meant to be brief.

Hit and giggle — good for light relief.

No sting in the tail. No bite. No thorn.

Would somebody please tell that to Ben Horne?

The Auckland keeper ran up the score.

Whacking a hundred and more.

This rhyme now ends because this is a newspaper.

Otherwise the boss will come down on this silly caper.

And Horne certainly deserves better than some questionable prose.

The 26-year-old stroked a career-best 162 in a wonderful rearguard action against Otago at Eden Park Outer Oval yesterday.

He found a willing ally in Danru Ferns. He also eclipsed his previous highest first-class innings, adding an unbeaten 63.

The pair moved Auckland away from the edge at 164 for eight to 368 for nine.

Their 204-run stand was an Auckland record ninth-wicket partnership. The home team declared one run later, having amassed a first innings lead of 183.

Otago faced a testing five over stint at the crease before stumps on day two.

Opener Camden Hawkins was trapped lbw after shouldering arms. Ferns got the breakthrough to complete an impressive day’s work.

The Volts will resume today on 13 for one, trailing by 170. Anaru Kitchen is unbeaten on 13 from 15 deliveries and Michael Rae went in as the nightwatchman and kept out 11 deliveries.

Rob Walter. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Rob Walter. PHOTO: ODT FILES

Otago coach Rob Walter felt his side had bowled exceptionally well before lunch and maintained good standards throughout the day.

There were a couple of missed opportunities, but otherwise Horne just batted well and the partnership ‘‘broke the back’’.

‘‘It wasn’t through a lack of trying. We threw everything we could at them but just couldn’t make a breakthrough.

‘‘It is disappointing, because we fought so hard to get ourselves back in the game after being 33 for six [in our first innings].’’

Otago actually started the day well. Auckland resumed on 79 for three and had lost a further four wickets by lunch.

Jacob Duffy (three for 60) grabbed a couple of wickets and Nathan Smith (two for 190 removed the danger man Martin Guptill lbw for 65.

Will Somerville departed for six shortly after lunch to leave the home side teetering.

But the balance slowly shifted. Horne was well set. He employed the shorthand jab to muscle the ball through midwicket and he also lofted plenty of deliveries down the ground.

And with a combination of innovation and daring he moved the Aces into a commanding position.

In the other games, it was another wet day at Seddon Park in Hamilton. Northern Districts resumed day three against Central Districts on 121 without loss and reached 145 for two when the weather closed in.

At the Basin Reserve, Wellington was dismissed for 212 in its second innings. Future Black Cap Devon Conway top-scored with 81, but Canterbury is two for none and needs another 120 runs to clinch victory.

The wickets have been shared around, but Matt Henry has looked sharp. He took four for 22 in the first innings.

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