Bruce hitting still denied Stags win

Saturday, Jan 01 2022

Bruce hitting still denied Stags win

Will Johnston

Photo: Tom Bruce during his innings on Friday. By: John Velvin.

Belligerent hitting by Central Stags captain Tom Bruce wasn’t enough to see his side through in the Dream11 Super Smash at Pukekura Park against the Canterbury Kings on Friday.

The Stags drop to third on the Twenty20 (T20) table after losing by five wickets with some power hitting from the Kings late in their innings and loose bowling.

Bruce smashed a career best of 93 not out off 36 balls, including eight sixes and eight fours, to amass 217/4 – the seventh highest T20 total at the venue.

The captain’s partnership with Josh Clarkson at the tail end of the first innings was worth 60-runs off 19 deliveries. Bruce contributed 56 and Clarkson one. Clarkson showed a brilliant supporting role with fast running between wickets.

Bruce’s performance was overshadowed by the Stags’ bowling performance late in the game.

“Anytime you score over 200 is really pleasing no matter the size of the boundaries,” he said after the match.

“It’s pretty disappointed to finish 2021 with that bowling performance.”

The Stags batted first after winning the toss. Openers Greg Hay and Ben Smith scored a 48-run partnership for the first wicket, before Will Williams picked up Hay for 26.

Stags wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver scored his fifth T20 50 with his 61 off 32 deliveries, before Williams grabbed his second wicket.

Todd Astle and Henry Shipley grabbed the wickets of Smith and debutant Ma’ara Ave.

Enter Bruce, who’s power hitting put all 1600 spectators at risk on the terraces. His shots were aided by wide and half volley-length deliveries by Canterbury.

The last over by Ed Nuttall went for 31-runs, including three sixes.

It looked like the Stags bowling line up kept the Canterbury batsman at bay. Seth Rance wrapped Ken McClure on the pads for 13 early in the run chase.

But with solid partnerships in the middle for Canterbury, it helped them pick up their fourth win of the competition.

A 58-run stand between Chad Bowes and Leo Carter and a 44-run partnership between Carter and Cole McConchie set up what was to come.

Wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher and Henry Shipley accumulated 87 off 26 balls. Fletcher was able to hit a six with more than two overs remaining to win. He finished with 48 off 21 with six sixes and one four. Shipley was 39 not out off 11 with five sixes and one four.

Adding to the drama, bowler Joey Field was removed from the attack after he bowled two full tosses in his third over. Both full tosses went for six.

It’s the second time in three matches the Stags haven’t been able to bowl well in the death. The last three overs went for 68-runs making it a doddle in the end for the visitors. 

The Central Hinds (women) lost by five wickets against the Magicians in the earlier match on Friday.

The Hinds made 112/7 after 20 overs, not enough on Pukekura Park.

On Thursday, the Northern Brave won both games by six wickets (men) and three runs (women).

Central Districts are back at Pukekura Park on Sunday, January 8, to play the Wellington teams. The first game is at 10:10am.