DAY FOUR: SBS Bank Otago Volts 207 and 134 all out (Bradley Rodden 38, Doug Bracewell 57-5, Ben Wheeler 34-3) lost to Devon Hotel Central Stags 435-6 declared by an innings and 94 runs.
The Devon Hotel Central Stags made short work of the six wickets they needed for an innings win, and sit on top of the table after round one.
Resuming at 48-4 with their top order back in the shed, the SBS Bank Otago Volts faced an uphill struggle to survive the day. Michael Bracewell held out long enough to make 33 from 109, but after he became Ben Wheeler's third victim, the Volts lost their last five wickets for 28 runs to end the match in the first session of the day.
Kruger van Wyk snared six catches in the innings to make it ten in the match - and Doug Bracewell claimed a five wicket bag to put the pressure on the BLACKCAPS selectors as he heads to the UAE for the Pakistan tour. It was a comprehensive performance from start to finish for the Stags, and far from the ideal start for new Volts coach Dimitri Mascarenhas would have liked.
DAY THREE: Otago Volts 207 and 48-4 (Jesse Ryder 28, Ben Wheeler 24-2, Doug Bracewell 13-2) trail Central Stags 435-6 declared (Doug Bracewell 73*, Ben Smith 112) by 180 runs.
Otago face an uphill battle to save this match on day four, entering it four wickets and 180 runs in arrears, against at Central Stags team with some serious momentum.
Doug Bracewell, fresh from making 73 with the bat, has two wickets, including Jesse Ryder and Nick Beard while Ben Wheeler picked up Aaron Redmond for a duck in the first over, and picked up Ryan Duffy for six five overs later, the first of Kruger van Wyk's three catches.
Michael Bracewell remains not out on eight from 44, with survival the priority with the Stags seamers in hot form. The forecast is offering no help to the visitors, who have work ahead to make the hosts bat again, let alone consider other outcomes.
Earlier, the Stags Ben Smith completed his fine century in 207 balls, the backbone of his side's innings. The Stags were prepared to play patiently and ensure a large total, with all batsmen getting starts, and great contributions from Bracewell (73 from 101), Kieren Noema-Barnett (37 from 88) and Will Young (49 from 127).
Days one and two
The Central Stags remain in a prime position heading into day three of their Plunket Shield match against the Otago Volts, despite rain limiting play on day two.
A joint bowling effort led by Doug Bracewell (3-64) restricted the Volts to 207 in the first innings. In response, they look well set to gain a sizable advantage, as they begin day three at 179-2.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, the Volts struggled to form a considerable partnership, with Michael Bracewell (50) the only one from the top-order making a decent contribution.
At 127-6 things a score of 200 looked unlikely, but BLACKCAPS spinner Mark Craig showed some late fight with the bat, bringing up a half-century in the process. His dismissal all but ended the innings though and the Volts were left with a sub-par score.
The Stags top-order had no such problems though, with Jamie How (42) and Ben Smith (75*) putting on 105 for the opening wicket. Neil Wagner made the breakthrough eventually with the wicket of How, but the Stags continued to accumulate nicely.
Smith looked sharp and was marching towards his second First Class century when rain intervened. He’ll resume day three with Will Young (6*) and the Stags just 28 runs short of Otago’s total.