Canterbury bring home the Ford Trophy

Canterbury batter Tom Latham works the ball away during the Ford Trophy final against Auckland at...
Canterbury batter Tom Latham works the ball away during the Ford Trophy final against Auckland at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Saturday. Auckland wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher looks on. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Canterbury coach Peter Fulton’s "lucky moustache" might need to stay on for a little while longer.

His side lifted the Ford Trophy in a hard-fought final against Auckland at Hagley Oval on Saturday.

With his team having been on a winning roll since growing his mo, Fulton was not about to change a thing as Canterbury headed into the decisive game as the top qualifier.

The Aces were chasing a white-ball double, having claimed the Super Smash title late last month.

But it was not to be for the Aucklanders this time around after Black Cap Tom Latham showed his brilliance in the field with a special, one-handed, diving catch to dismiss the dangerous Will O’Donnell, and calmly top-scored for his side with a knock of 64 off 82 balls in still lively conditions.

Both sides had their moments, and more ups than downs in the field, in a match that tested composure.

George Worker did a sterling job at the top for the Aces after they were sent in against Canterbury’s challenging pace attack.

The Aucklanders (264 for five in their 50 overs) denied Canterbury any early breakthroughs, and lifted the tempo as conditions eased later in their innings.

Canterbury conversely lost early wickets, but Latham’s grip at first drop proved pivotal.

Canterbury were 141 for three in the 30th over when late showers reduced their target to 206, meaning a further 65 runs would be needed from 52 balls when the match restarted at 6.15pm, after a lengthy break.

There was a sniff for the Aces with Ben Lister’s tight work rewarded by Latham’s wicket, but the experience of Canterbury captain Cole McConchie (59 not out) and former Otago player Michael Rippon (17 not out off 12 balls) brought home the coveted victory in the last over with five balls to spare.

It was Canterbury’s first Ford Trophy title since the 2020-21 season.

— Staff reporter