The first round of matches in the Ford Trophy 2011-12, New Zealand's domestic 50-over competition, saw convincing wins for Otago, Auckland and Canterbury.
Otago beat Northern Districts by 111 runs at the University Oval in Dunedin. Craig Cumming was their star with the bat, scoring 123 off 115 balls to help Otago reach a total of 295 for 6 after choosing to bat. Cumming's innings was supported by useful contributions from 20-year-old Michael Bracewell, who scored 41, and Nathan McCullum, who got 56. Northern Districts' Bradley Scott was particularly expensive, going for 71 runs in his 10 overs.
Northern Districts' chase was derailed early by seamer Ian Butler, whose two strikes left Northern Districts 29 for 3. James Marshall attempted a recovery and scored 72, but wickets fell in the middle overs, then the tail collapsed and Northern Districts were bowled out for 184 in 39 overs. Butler finished with 5 for 33 while Nathan McCullum picked up three wickets.
Auckland's middle and lower order took them out of trouble before Andre Adams combined with the spinners to bowl Wellington out for 177 and deliver a 72-run victory at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln. Auckland chose to bat but were 53 for 4 after losing three wickets in the space of four balls: two to fast bowler Scott Kuggeleijn and one to James Franklin. Anaru Kitchen and Colin de Grandhomme put on 56 for the fifth wicket but then fell in quick succession. Auckland's lower order, though, ensured they posted a competitive total. Kyle Mills scored 27, Andre Adams got 33 off 27 balls and Ronnie Hira top-scored with 48 off 39 to take Auckland to 249 all out in 49.4 overs.
Wellington's chase got off to a solid stand thanks to Michael Papps' half-century but wickets started to tumble once Adams and the spinners came into the attack. Adams finished with 5 for 29, spinners Hira and Bhupinder Singh took two wickets each and Wellington were bowled out for 177.
Four wickets from seamer Matt Henry scuppered Central Districts' chase and gave Canterbury victory by 66 runs at the Mainpower Oval in Rangiora. Central Districts were in the game at 144 for 2 in the 30th over, chasing 268, and Ben Smith and Mathew Sinclair on half-centuries. Sinclair fell to legspinner Todd Astle and Henry then took two quick wickets to derail the chase. Central Districts ended up being bowled out for 202 and Henry finished with 4 for 25.
Canterbury's total had been built around half-centuries from George Worker, Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls. They elected to bat and lost two wickets within the first three overs before Worker and Latham's 95-run partnership bailed them out of trouble. Worker was dismissed for 50 but Nicholls came in and formed another important partnership with Latham. Nicholls batted on after Latham was dismissed for 78 and finished with 74 not out.