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The Christchurch Press Allott axes awful Aces
Geoff Longley - 30 January 1999

Geoff Allott cast aside the effects of hardly having played any competitive cricket for seven weeks to spearhead a Canterbury bowling attack which demolished Auckland by eight wickets, in the Shell Cup semi-final at Jade Stadium.

Black Cap Allott, battling to overcome injury and a lack of match fitness, produced an outstanding spell, in tandem with Warren Wisneski, which plunged the Auckland Aces into despair at 41 for six. It was eventually routed for only 126. Canterbury had few troubles with the paltry target, reaching it with the loss of just two wickets with a whopping 21.3 overs unused on Saturday.

Allott had a luckless time during Christmas-New Year, being 12th man for successive tests against India, and then breaking down with a hamstring injury after just 2.2 overs in his only one-day appearance against the tourists.

Canterbury coach Garry MacDonald said for Allott to bowl so well fresh was a revelation.

``It's our best opening bowling effort all season and set up the win. Geoff and Wish (Wisneski) put it in the right place time after time to sustain the pressure.''

Allott said he was initially relieved to get through his early overs and then pleased to find his rhythm was good.

``It was really a case of now or never for me to get back on the park and start bowling again.''

Allott had the satisfaction of bowling fellow Black Cap Bryan Young, one of the in-form players in the one-day competition.

``The ball just slanted back a bit and took the inside edge and I was very happy to see the stumps get knocked over.''

Allott hopes some solid performances for Canterbury in coming weeks will be the springboard back into the New Zealand team for the forthcoming series against South Africa. Allott finished with the outstanding figures of one for 17 from 10 overs, which were matched by Chris Harris, while Chris Cairns off a short run produced a potent five-over spell which claimed two victims.

Wisneski contributed equally when he and Allott bowled in tandem for the first 14 overs and finished with three wickets, though his figures were inflated by some end-of-innings punishment.

MacDonald wondered if the Auckland players had become psyched out about the quality of the wicket after talk during the week about the fourth game being played on it.

``I wonder if they were half worried about the track but there was nothing wrong with it. The ball did a little early on as it has done in the past and there was a bit of bounce.''

Nightmare for Auckland

Auckland had a day where almost everything went wrong, from Blair Pocock's first ball dismissal to conceding the winning runs of the match with an overthrow. When Canterbury batted a number of shots went close to hand, while Auckland's chances invariably went to a fielder.

Auckland's only plus from the match was a watchful half century from Adam Parore in 91 balls. His time at the crease was useful given his struggle for batting form with New Zealand.

Auckland coach David Trist said the wicket had no bearing on how his team had played.

``Some very good Canterbury bowling kept the pressure on and some of our players were guilty of playing indifferent shots.

``A Canterbury team at full strength is the benchmark of performance other teams in New Zealand have to set for themselves to achieve. We fell well short of that,'' Trist said.

Although Canterbury lost Nathan Astle, returning to the game after being sidelined for a month with a broken hand first ball, partnerships of 63 between Mark Hastings and Craig McMillan, and 64 unbeaten between Hastings and Harris, carried Canterbury to an emphatic victory.

Source: The Christchurch Press
Editorial comments can be sent to The Christchurch Press at press@press.co.nz