Images: PHOTOSPORT / NZC

2016/17 — What a season that was

New Zealand’s 2016/17 domestic season has come to a close, but it will leave us with a trove of records and be remembered for going down to the wire in every competition — right down to the final over of the season at McLean Park.

CHAMPIONS

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It was Canterbury's year, winning three of the season’s five domestic titles: the Plunket Shield, Ford Trophy and Women’s One-Day trophies.

The Ford Trophy title was particularly significant to the region after having eluded Canterbury for more than a decade — then their experienced senior core guided the way to their third Plunket Shield in four seasons in 10,000-run legend Peter Fulton’s final season.


The Wellington Firebirds made both white ball men’s finals. Built on experience, even nicknamed “Dad’s Army”, they survived a series of near-death experiences to make the 2016/17 McDonald’s Super Smash Grand Final where they overcame front-running favourites the Central Stags, then they ran Canterbury hard for The Ford Trophy after having finished as top qualifier. In the T20 format in particular, it had been some comeback — they had failed to take a single point from their first four rounds.

It was an historic season for the Otago Sparks — they got to celebrate their first ever Women’s Twenty20 championship win, beating the front-running defending champions the Canterbury Magicians in an away Final.

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GRINNERS

Here’s just some of the special records that will take pride of place in this year’s Almanack.

Peter Fulton smashed Brendon McCullum’s record for the fastest List A century in New Zealand in The Ford Trophy Final — his fairytale 50-ball ton would be his final innings in the format before retirement. What a commanding way to sign off.


The Central Stags and Otago Volts combined to set a world record Twenty20 match aggregate as Hamish Rutherford and Mahela Jayawardena went head to head with blazing centuries. The game total of 497 runs beat the previous world record of 479 that had been posted by the West Indies and India in August 2016.


The Volts’ 249/3 was also a Pukekura Park and all-time domestic New Zealand record total, followed by the Stags’ incredible reply of 248/4. Just one short! Rutherford’s ton was the second quickest in NZ history and Jayawardena’s was the biggest T20 knock of his distinguished career.

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Breaking the 400 one-day barrier yet again, the Central Stags later also posted the biggest win in Ford Trophy history at Pukekura Park. The new national record winning margin went in the books at an impressive 227 runs, which beat the Otago Volts' 222-run victory against Northern Districts at Molyneux Park in 2014/15.

First it was 20-year-old youngster Glenn Phillips (Auckland Aces). Then, in the final match of the season, 38-year-old veteran Hamish Marshall did it as well, in his first season playing for the Wellington Firebirds. Now they share a distinction as the only players to have scored a century in all three formats — first-class, one-day and Twenty20 — in a New Zealand domestic season.

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Stags offspinner Ajaz Patel achieved the distinction of being New Zealand’s leading first-class wicket-taker for the second year running, going head-to-head with Auckland Aces leg-spin counterpart Tarun Nethula in the last round, the leggie once again a close second.

     Plunket Shield

     Leading wicket-takers

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     44    Ajaz Patel | Central Stags @30.81 | spin
     43    Tarun Nethula | Auckland Aces @30.06 | spin
     40    Ish Sodhi | Northern Districts @25.92 | spin
     34    Scott Kuggeleijn | Northern Districts @27.29 | pace
     31    Todd Astle | Canterbury @26.48 | spin
     30    Brent Arnel | Wellington Firebirds @21.40 | pace
     30    Lockie Ferguson | Auckland Aces @22.03 | pace

     Best bowling

     8-74    Kyle Jamieson | Canterbury
     7-59    Ish Sodhi | Northern Districts
     7-107  Ish Sodhi | Northern Districts
     6-31    Seth Rance | Central Stags
     6-35    Andrew Ellis | Canterbury
     6-36    Tarun Nethula | Auckland Aces
     6-55    Jeetan Patel | Wellington Firebirds
     6-60    Scott Kuggeleijn | Northern Districts
     6-81    Matt McEwan | Wellington Firebirds

     Wicketkeeping dismissals

     29    Derek de Boorder | Otago Volts
     25    Dane Cleaver | Central Stags
     21    Ben Horne | Auckland Aces
     21    Cameron Fletcher | Canterbury

Peter Fulton joined his former teammate Michael Papps and Hamish Marshall as the only active Kiwi players in the season to have scored more than 10,000 first-class runs, while Papps added 10,000 runs from New Zealand domestic cricket alone to the overall first-class milestone he ticked off the previous summer. Marshall incidentally is now within spitting distance of 15K.

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Widely regarded as the most determined player on the domestic cricket scene, Luke Woodcock achieved major Wellington milestones his summer as the team's new all-time record holder for most first-class appearances and most first-class runs.

PLAYERS OF THE SEASON

Canterbury captain Andrew Ellis won the official NZC Domestic Player of the Year trophy for the second time in three years after exerting his influence with bat, ball, fielding and leadership throughout the season. The last two rounds of the first-class season may have been missed opportunities that let other teams sneak back into the title race, but overall Ellis made 652 Plunket Shield runs at 41 and took 27 wickets at 25. A broken thumb meant he contributed just 38 runs at 13 in The Ford Trophy yet he still claimed 12 wickets at 17 and an RPO 4.4, plus 140 McDonald’s Super Smash runs and nine wickets at 33.

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Three other players stand out alongside Ellis for outstandingly consistent performances in both white ball and red ball formats in 2016/17.

George Worker missed a big chunk at the start of the season, recovering from surgery to his elbow, but boy did he make up for lost time. He was by far the most prolific batsman of the Ford Trophy season and in case anyone thought his impact was restricted to white ball, finished the last day of 2016/17 in punishing first-class touch with a quick, match-winning first-class 130 that ultimately decided the destiny of the Plunket Shield — by denying the Auckland Aces the victory they needed for the championship.

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As a spinner, the Stags’ player of the year was also outstanding at a time when his injury-hit team really needed him and he notably took back-to-back career best white ball hauls at Pukekura Park — no mean feat at that ground. Worker scored 659 Ford Trophy runs at 82 and took 12 wickets at 27. He made 486 first-class runs at 61 from half a season, and earlier made 240 McDonald’s Super Smash runs at 27 and took an excellent 13 wickets at 19. He was rewarded with a recall to the BLACKCAPS squad and will head off with them to May’s tri-series against Ireland and Bangladesh.

     The Ford Trophy

     Top runscorers

PHOTOSPORT

     659    George Worker | Central Stags
     466    Sean Solia | Auckland Aces
     412    Will Young | Central Stags
     381    Henry Nicholls | Canterbury
     355    Daryl Mitchell | Northern Districts
     343    Nick Kelly | Northern Districts
     333    Jesse Ryder | Central Stags

     Highest averages (qualification: 250 runs)

     82.37    George Worker | Central Stags
     77.66    Sean Solia | Auckland Aces
     63.50    Henry Nicholls | Canterbury
     59.16    Daryl Mitchell | Northern Districts
     54.60    Josh Clarkson | Central Stags
     52.40    Matt Taylor | Wellington Firebirds

     Most centuries


     2     George Worker | Central Stags
    
     Best strike rate (qualification: 240 runs)

     121.75    Anaru Kitchen | Otago Volts
     118.18    Hamish Marshall | Wellington Firebirds
     116.66    Josh Clarkson | Central Stags
     111.01    Matt Taylor | Wellington Firebirds
     109.66    Tom Bruce | Central Stags
     106.14    Scott Kuggeleijn | Northern Districts
     102.10    Peter Fulton | Canterbury
     101.55    Tim Seifert | Northern Districts
       99.57    Sean Solia | Auckland Aces

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Leg-spinner Todd Astle yet again strung consistent performances across a season for Canterbury and it garnered him another call-up to the BLACKCAPS. Astle’s competitiveness and experience makes him a vital cog in the Canterbury wheel of success. He scored 522 Plunket Shield runs at 40 and took 31 wickets at 26; 241 Ford Trophy runs at 34 and 12 wickets at 32 and 60 McDonald’s Super Smash runs at 30 and 13 wickets at 21.

Nippy Scott Kuggeleijn put his head down and delivered his best all-round season yet, and it earned him a call-up to the BLACKCAPS squad against South Africa though he didn’t get to play. Kuggeleijn scored 388 first-class runs down the order at 30 and took 34 wickets at 27, often causing good batsmen trouble at the top. He scored 242 Ford Trophy runs at 25, and was the competition’s top wicket-taker with 17 wickets at 25, shouldering responsibility in Northern Districts’ injury-plagued season and leading their attack. In McDonald’s Super Smash, Kuggelelijn made 107 runs at 53 and took eight wickets at 29. Teams consistently treat him with caution be it batting or bowling.

     The Ford Trophy

     Leading wicket-takers

PHOTOSPORT

     17    Scott Kuggeleijn | Northern Districts | pace
     16    Hamish Bennett | Wellington Firebirds | pace
     16    Anurag Verma | Wellington Firebirds | pace
     14    Ish Sodhi | Northern Districts | spin
     14    Tim Johnston | Canterbury | spin
     12    Andrew Ellis | Canterbury | pace
     12    George Worker | Central Stags | spin
     12    Todd Astle | Canterbury | spin

     Best bowling

     6-27    Lockie Ferguson | Auckland Aces
     5-44    Anurag Verma | Wellington Firebirds

     Wicketkeeping dismissals

     14    Tim Seifert | Northern Districts
     12    Cameron Fletcher | Canterbury

Katey Martin won the Ruth Martin Cup for domestic batting and her Otago Sparks teammate Leigh Kasperek scooped the Phyl Blackler Cup for women's domestic bowling in between a dreadfully unlucky season for the off-spinner when it came to breaking fingers.

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Pushing both hard was Canterbury Magicians allrounder Frances Mackay who starred with both bat and ball in both women’s formats, as well as taking the Mags unbeaten through to the Final in her first season as T20 captain.

Leg-spinning teammate Erin Bermingham also enjoyed one of her most influential seasons with the bat, as did Katie Perkins, while former South Africa wicketkeeper Bernadine Bezuidenhout had a strong debut season for Northern Spirit both in front of and behind the stumps.
 
     Women’s Twenty20

     Top runscorers

     223    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians
     203    Natalie Dodd | Northern Spirit
     162    Katie Perkins | Auckland Hearts
     161    Suzie Bates | Otago Sparks
     151    Anna Peterson | Auckland Hearts
     145    Amy Satterthwaite | Canterbury Magicians
     137    Katey Martin | Otago Sparks
     132    Bernadine Bezuidenhout | Northern Spirit

     Highest averages (qualification: 100 runs)

     81.00    Katie Perkins | Auckland Hearts
     67.66    Natalie Dodd | Northern Spirit
     55.75    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians
     54.00    Sophie Devine | Wellington Blaze
     44.00    Bernadine Bezuidenhout | Northern Spirit
     40.25    Suzie Bates | Otago Sparks

     Best strike rate (qualification: 100 runs)

     143.36    Katie Perkins | Auckland Hearts
     136.44    Suzie Bates | Otago Sparks
     133.33    Sophie Devine | Wellington Blaze
     112.40    Amy Satterthwaite | Canterbury Magicians
     108.19    Bernadine Bezuidenhout | Northern Spirit
     105.72    Natalie Dodd | Northern Spirit
     104.10    Anna Peterson | Auckland Hearts
     103.78    Katey Martin | Otago Sparks
     100.90    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians

PHOTOSPORT

Amid intense competition, solid Volts captain Brad Wilson came out top of the Plunket Shield run-scoring tally with 730 at 46, while former South African first-class opener Chad Bowes had a breakout season for Canterbury.

     Plunket Shield

     Top runscorers

     730    Brad Wilson | Otago Volts
     695    Anaru Kitchen | Otago Volts
     685    Colin Munro | Auckland Aces
     676    Michael Papps | Wellington Firebirds
     663    Rob Nicol  | Auckland Aces    
     658    Tom Blundell | Wellington Firebirds
     652    Andrew Ellis | Canterbury
     624    Tim Seifert | Northern Districts
     591    Will Young | Central Stags
     571    Luke Woodcock | Wellington Firebirds

     Highest averages (qualification: 300 runs)

     167.50    Martin Guptill | Auckland Aces
       85.62    Colin Munro | Auckland Aces
       63.18    Anaru Kitchen | Otago Volts
       60.75    George Worker | Central Stags
       55.71    Hamish Rutherford | Otago Volts
       54.66    Tom Blundell | Wellington Firebirds
       53.00    Neil Broom | Otago Volts
       49.10    Cole McConchie | Canterbury
       46.54    Dean Brownlie | George Worker
       45.66    Chad Bowes | Canterbury
       45.62    Brad Wilson | Otago Volts
       45.06    Michael Papps | Wellington Firebirds
       42.21    Will Young | Central Stags
       41.53    Tom Bruce | Central Stags
       40.78    Luke Woodcock | Wellington Firebirds
       40.75    Andrew Ellis | Canterbury

      Most centuries

     4    Colin Munro, Anaru Kitchen
     3    Chad Bowes, Michael Papps, Andrew Ellis


Central Stags seamer Seth Rance was again highly influential with the white ball and earned his maiden BLACKCAPS squad selection at season’s end to Ireland in May. Rance took 11 Ford Trophy wickets at 27 and RPO 4.9m and was the country’s top wicket-taker with 15 McDonald’s Super Smash wickets at 24. He sizzled with a superb pink ball six-wicket haul in night-ball Plunket Shield. swinging it a mile at Seddon Park.

     McDonald’s Super Smash

     Leading wicket-takers

PHOTOSPORT

     15    Seth Rance | Central Stags
     15    Brent Arnel | Wellington Firebirds
     14    Blair Tickner | Central Stags
     13    George Worker | Central Stags
     13    Todd Astle | Canterbury Kings

Arlene Kelly had one of her most impressive seasons with the white ball for the Auckland Hearts, her consistent economy whilst bowling 10 on the trot, game after game, doing a highly effective job for her team, even if it wasn’t necessarily rewarded with wickets.

Anaru Kitchen had his best season yet for the Volts and was their player of the year. He got better and better as the season kicked on, with an outstanding finish to his first-class season. ND leggie Ish Sodhi also had a blinder in that same game.

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Sodhi finished with two seven-fors in the space of three games and, like Ajaz Patel, showed he could bowl a demanding load of overs for his side. Leg-spinners — Tarun Nethula (43), Astle and Sodhi (40) took three of the top five first-class wicket-taking slots this season, and likely for the first time, Indian-born spinners occupied the top three rungs (offie Patel the overall leader with 44). Firebirds spin icon Jeetan Patel also kept turning it on, recalled to the BLACKCAPS for both white and red ball against South Africa.

Colin Munro had an outstanding summer and all-round Plunket Shield season for the Aces, backing his 100 per cent aggressive approach with the bat even against the red ball. Impetus can matter in first-class cricket, too: he scored a century in each innings in what turned out to be a three-day match at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland, trying to get a result after the first day was lost. 


Meanwhile, Michael Papps was scoring first-class tons for breakfast with three hundreds in consecutive matches, including New Zealand’s first first-class ton under lights.

BREAKOUT PLAYERS OF THE SEASON



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Glenn Phillips. He bats, he bowls (golden arm), he fields, he kept wicket and did it all with panache. His Aces’ record-smashing Ford Trophy opening stand of 208 with Martin Guptill on Eden Park number two was a special day. He was top McDonald’s Super Smash run-scorer in his debut season topped with a truly startling ton at Eden Park Outer Oval, then he also got his first selection for the BLACKCAPS in T20 this summer and got an 11-ball duck on debut.


Josh Clarkson. Another 20-year-old who can hit a very, very long ball. Physically reminiscent of a young Chris Cairns, some of his white-ball sixes on big grounds this summer were out of this world, let alone out of the park. His astronomical strike rate proved crucial to the injury-hit Central Stags in both their white ball campaigns and his relative inexperience didn’t seem to stop him in pressure situations. An allrounder by trade, he played as a batsman only due to injury, and the Stags will be hoping his planned op and rehab can be scheduled in time for next summer.

PHOTOSPORT
Styley Sean Solia had a huge debut season for the Aces, getting his List A career underway with a brilliant century (152) in his first game to set up one of the biggest hidings in The Ford Trophy’s history.

Honourable mention to the aforementioned Chad Bowes and Solia's surprise package teammate Raja Sandhu, who shone with both ball and bat after being brought in at the back end of his maiden Plunket Shield campaign. Roll in promising keeper Ben Horne and the Aces have found their future.

     McDonald’s Super Smash

     Top runscorers

     369    Glenn Phillips | Auckland Aces
     367    Mahela Jayawardena | Central Stags
     336    Henry Nicholls | Canterbury Kings
     325    Michael Papps | Wellington Firebirds
     308    Dean Brownlie | Knights
     306    Hamish Rutherford | Otago Volts
     297    Hamish Marshall | Wellington Firebirds
     283    Tom Bruce | Central Stags
     270    Corey Anderson | Knights

     Highest averages (qualification: 140 runs)

PHOTOSPORT

     162.00  Ross Taylor | Central Stags
     141.00  Josh Clarkson | Central Stags
     53.00    BJ Watling | Knights
     51.50    Neil Broom | Otago Volts    

     Centuries

     Glenn Phillips | Auckland Aces
     Mahela Jaywardena | Central Stags
     Hamish Rutherford | Otago Volts
     Hamish Marshall | Wellington Firebirds

     Best strike rate (qualification: 130 runs)

     220.63    Colin de Grandhomme | Auckland Aces
     178.48    Josh Clarkson | Central Stags
     178.02    Ross Taylor | Central Stags
     175.79    Mahela Jaywardena | Central Stags
     171.51    Tom Bruce | Central Stags
     166.66    Luke Ronchi | Wellington Firebirds
     156.12    Hamish Rutherford | Otago Volts
     154.47    Mark Chapman | Auckland Aces
     150.00    Michael Bracewell | Otago Volts

PHOTOSPORT
Big pace bowler Blair Tickner went from strength to strength after making his McDonald’s Super Smash debut for the Stags and revealed himself to be a great entertainer with the white ball, notably picking up a rare T20 five-wicket bag at Pukekura Park. He was the only New Zealand-based player to do it this summer, alongside the Kings’ Aussie import Ben Hilfenhaus. If there was an award for showmanship, and knowing how to celebrate, this young Aussie-raised Napierite would win it.

     McDonald’s Super Smash

     Best bowling

     5-19    Blair Tickner | Central Stags
     5-23    Ben Hilfenhaus | Canterbury Kings
     4-18    Tarun Nethula | Auckland Aces
     4-27    Seth Rance | Central Stags
     4-34    Blair Tickner | Central Stags
     4-35    Daryl Mitchell | Knights

     Wicketkeeping dismissals

     9    Glenn Phillips | Auckland Aces
     8    Derek de Boorder | Otago Volts
     8    Dane Cleaver | Central Stags
     8    Cameron Fletcher | Canterbury Kings


Henry Cooper rapped out his maiden first-class century in his first season and at 22 dynamic ND team-mate Tim Seifert put up excellent numbers as a keeper-batsman-slash-specialist-batsman, adding his maiden List A one-day century to what is now a brace of first-class hundreds.

Rosemary Mair (Central Hinds), schoolgirls Nensi Patel (Northern Spirit), Kate Heffernan (Otago Sparks) and Bella Armstrong (Auckland Hearts) all earmarked themselves as big players of the future in the women’s comps.

     Women’s Twenty20

     Leading wicket-takers

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     8    Leigh Kasperek | Otago Sparks
     7    Kate Heffernan | Otago Sparks
     6    Jacinta Savage | Canterbury Magicians
     6    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians
     6    Michelle McKay | Central Hinds
     6    Anna Peterson | Auckland Hearts

     Best bowling

     4-19    Nensi Patel | Northern Spirit
     4-21    Kate Heffernan | Otago Sparks
     4-26    Jacinta Savage | Canterbury Magicians

     Wicketkeeping dismissals

     6    Katey Martin | Otago Sparks
     5    Bernadine Bezuidenhout | Northern Spirit



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She’s already made her WHITE FERNS debut at just 16, but let’s not fail to mention remarkable Amelia Kerr who coupled her preternatural spinning feats with a maiden One-Day century this summer for Wellington Blaze.

Sara McGlashan also put up the numbers in the One-Day comp in what is understood to have been the legend’s farewell season.

     Women’s One-Day

     Top runscorers


PHOTOSPORT
     436    Katey Martin | Otago Sparks
     351    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians
     349    Natalie Dodd | Northern Spirit
     342    Sara McGlashan | Auckland Hearts
     325    Anna Peterson | Auckland Hearts
     325    Amy Satterthwaite | Canterbury Magicians
     310    Amelia Kerr | Wellington Blaze
     308    Maddie Green | Auckland Hearts

     Highest averages (qualification: 100 runs)


     98.33    Erin Bermingham | Canterbury Magicians
     85.50    Sara McGlashan | Auckland Hearts
     70.20    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians
     58.00    Kate Ebrahim | Canterbury Magicians
     54.40    Katey Martin | Otago Sparks
     51.66    Amelia Kerr | Wellington Blaze
     51.33    Sophie Devine | Wellington Blaze
     49.60    Suzie Bates | Otago Sparks
     44.00    Maddie Green | Auckland Hearts
     40.62    Anna Peterson | Auckland Hearts
     40.00    Hannah Rowe | Central Hinds

     Best strike rate (qualification: 100 runs)

     129.41   Sophie Devine | Wellington Blaze
      98.89    Katie Perkins | Auckland Hearts
      98.62    Rachel Priest | Wellington Blaze
      97.35    Erin Bermingham | Canterbury Magicians
      95.98    Millie Cowan | Otago Sparks    

     Leading wicket-takers

     16    Amy Satterthwaite | Canterbury Magicians
     15    Jess Watkin | Central Hinds
     14    Leigh Kasperek | Otago Sparks
     14    Deanna Doughty | Wellington Blaze
     13    Beth Langston | Otago Sparks
     13    Frances Mackay | Canterbury Magicians

     Best bowling

     4-12    Kate Ebrahim | Canterbury Magicians
     4-24    Beth Langston | Otago Sparks
     4-24    Maddie Green | Auckland Hearts
     4-31    Millie Cowan | Otago Sparks    
     4-31    Amy Satterthwaite | Canterbury Magicians
     4-32    Kate Anderson | Northern Spirit
     4-34    Jess Watkin | Central Hinds
     4-36    Jess Watkin | Central Hinds
     4-47    Regina Lili’i | Auckland Hearts
     4-56    Amelia Kerr | Wellington Blaze

     Wicketkeeping dismissals

     12    Bernadine Bezuidenhout | Northern Spirit
     10    Jacinta Savage | Canterbury Magicians


Many other players took their turn to step up and stand out in the 2016/17 domestic season and the result was one of the best yet, all competitions going down to the wire.

Well played.

With Thanks To

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