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Depleted stags take surprise lead

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

While defending champions the Auckland Aces clinched a last-over nailbiter at Eden Park Outer Oval against ND, and a superb maiden unbeaten century from Andrew Fletcher and Lauchie Johns' new New Zealand wicketkeeping record (one short of the List A world record) helped the Wellington Firebirds stay on top at the Basin Reserve against Canterbury, the Central Stags took their unbeaten first-class momentum into the one-day format in Nelson, but found the going tough against the Otago Volts.

New Volts captain Mark Craig (season co-captain with Jacob Duffy) sent the Stags in at Nelson where, despite a severely depleted squad, the Stags battled their way to the top of the points table.

Openers Greg Hay (answering an SOS to play his first white-ball match since March 2014, at his home ground) and Ben Smith, both better known for their red-ball careers, crafted a new Central Stags v Otago Volts record opening partnership of 167, with both batsmen reaching career bests on an initially slow and tricky surface in misty conditions.

A collapse brought the Volts right back into the match before Central's three debutants, spinner Felix Murray, allrounder Willem Ludick and wicketkeeper Ma'ara Ave, all got their maiden dismissals en route to a 37-run victory.

The Stags now head to Pukekura Park in New Plymouth to host a strong Canterbury squad this Sunday. The Auckland Aces remain at Eden Park Outer Oval to host the Firebirds while ND heads home to Seddon Park, Hamilton, to look to get on the board against the Volts.

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