George Worker is in rich form | Images: PHOTOSPORT

Century for George Worker

After two scores in the 70s already this season, Stags opener George Worker went the whole hog in Dunedin with a superb maiden T20 century in a show-stopping away win for his side.

Captaining the team in Tom Bruce's absence, it was a special day for the crafty left-hander who made a fast start and struck his 106 off just 58 balls - the highest individual score so far this summer after having been sent in at University of Otago Oval.

The conditions were brisk but the deck was a good one, and Worker capitalised with six fours and eight sixes as he batted into the penultimate over of his side's set of 20.

Worker's first T20 ton flew off 56 balls and he got there after early support from BLACKCAP Will Young who smote a classy 50 off just 25 balls.

After the big bopper Josh Clarkson did the finishing with three bombs in his 17-ball 33, the Volts were left facing the task of chasing down one of the Stags' largest ever totals.

It wasn't the first time they had been in this situation, mind. The Stags' highest T20 total a few years back - 248/4 in 2016/17 - had been an incredible win for the Volts who won by a single run in what was at the time a record T20 for total runs scored.

Many of today's participants have engrained memories of that crazy big game at Pukekura Park and the Otago Volts came out like they were ready to do it all over again.

They were chasing 223/5 this time around - a new Uni Oval ground record and the Stags' fifth highest total all-time, joining two other 220+ totals already this summer.

Volts veterans Hamish Rutherford and Neil Broom gave the hosts the fast start they were after, with Broom producing an audacious reverse ramp reminiscent of his remarkable shot in last season's Ford Trophy.

But the power starts would both be confined to cameos, Broom (15 off 7) caught off the young wicket-taker Joey Field and Rutherford departing in the sixth over for a 15-ball 25, at 59/2.

BLACKCAP Ajaz Patel (3-34) then took a valuable wicket with his first delivery, stopping the powerful young Llew Johnson in his stride. Later, Patel came back on for his second spell and took two wickets with his first two balls of that spell, too - Nick Kelly surviving the hat-trick ball.

Kelly was fighting to the death, top-scoring with 75 off 54 balls in the chase. But the chance of a win dried up in front of him, the Volts only able to reach 170/8 in reply and Kelly run out off the last ball just to make it sting that little bit more.

The win swept the Stags to equal top points with the Firebirds, but have played two more games than their Wellington rivals.

It was a day of two halves at Uni Oval with Central's women still struggling to get traction halfway through their regular season, and the Sparks grabbing their second win from four outings.

Sparks captain Katey Martin won the toss and sent the Hinds in, the visiting side having called in two young debutantes as well as Ashtuti Kumar - who, like Ocean Bartlett, had flown down from the CD U19 squad in Lincoln that morning.

Kate Gaging and Bartlett were the fresh faces on debut with experienced quartet Rosemary Mair (side strain), Mikaela Greig (shoulder injury in training the day before) and Emily Cunningham (stood down while awaiting a Covid test result) and Anlo van Deventer (unavailable) all out.

When WHITE FERN Hayley Jensen struck early to remove Jess Watkin for seven - continuing a lean T20 trot for the powerful striker, the Sparks had the start they wanted.

Natalie Dodd and Georgia Atkinson steadied the ship with a 35-run stand, but the Sparks did an excellent collective job of containing the Hinds to just 102/7 in their 20 overs, with Jensen and Emma Black both picking up a brace.

The deer-hunting season was on as the Sparks showed how it was done in reply, openers Millie Cowan and Polly Inglis putting on 32 inside the first five overs before Claudia Green got a breakthrough.

Inglis would finish unbeaten on 43* (38 balls, five boundaries) as they got the job done with almost a quarter of the allotted overs to spare.

The Stags and Hinds will be in action yet again on Sunday against the Canterbury Magicians and Kings in Hagley Oval's first Dream11 Super Smash under lights.

Central Stags beat the Otago Volts by 53 runs

Otago Sparks beat the Central Hinds by 7 wickets