A rained-off abandonment in a top-of-the-table clash at Hagley Oval was all it took today for undefeated Canterbury to book themselves into Saturday’s Ford Trophy Qualifying Finals as top qualifier.

ellis roni and fletchPosted Monday, 18 January, 2016 in Domestic News

Canterbury will head into this Wednesday’s round eight unbeaten, an unassailable 27 points securing them a home 1 versus 2 Qualifying Final on the weekend — the winner of which will proceed direct to the 30 January Grand Final.

With only 18.3 overs having been possible on a drizzly, ran-delayed Christchurch in their match this afternoon, opponents the Devon Hotel Central Stags, who remain second on the table, now head to Eden Park Outer Oval this Wednesday for what will effectively be a playoff for the second qualifying spot with the Mondiale Auckland Aces, after the Aces took a bonus point in their seven-wicket win over the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve this afternoon.

Meanwhile, in Dunedin the SBS Bank Otago Volts continued their late charge, hurling themselves up into fourth spot on the table with an emphatic eight-wicket win over the SKYCITY Northern Knights.

The final round before Finals this Wednesday will be contested in Auckland (Aces v Stags), Mount Maunganui (Knights v Canterbury) and Invercargill (Volts v Firebirds).

The top four teams will then progress to Saturday’s Qualifying Finals (1 v 2 and 3 v 4), while the bottom two teams will be eliminated. The loser of 1 v 2 will then play the winner of 3 v 4 on 27 January to determine the other 2016 Ford Trophy Grand Finalist.

As well as needing Canterbury to stop the Knights from taking a bonus point win (worth five points), the Firebirds will need to win with a bonus point in Invercargill to stay alive.

Canterbury v Devon Hotel Central Stags was abandoned at Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Drizzle cut short a match that was a notable statistical double for two senior Canterbury statesmen: captain Andy Ellis (100th List A game overall) and Peter Fulton (100th List A game for Canterbury). The game got underway briefly after lunch, Ellis unsurprisingly electing to bowl in the cool, misty conditions. Regular breakthroughs set against the Stags’ urgency to put runs on the board in light of a possible Duckworth Lewis Stern calculation saw the aggressive Stags hurtle to 110/4 before the match was called off in the 19th over, each side claiming two points from the abandonment.