Central Districts have got their Plunket Shield campaign under way - but they made tough work of a four-wicket win in Napier yesterday.
Carl Cachopa's magnificent 179 not out in the first innings set the game up for CD, who then proceeded to skittle Auckland for 210 and asked them to follow on.
But the Aces proved tougher nuts to crack in their second innings at Nelson Park.
Colin Munro led the way with 103 and found valuable allies in Anaru Kitchen (60) and Michael Bates (59) as Auckland worked their way to 365 all out.
Discarded Black Caps leg-spinner Tarun Nethula claimed 4-67, but that still left CD with 146 runs to get for the win, after an opening-round loss to Wellington.
With plenty of overs in hand, that never really looked in doubt, although Jamie How (22), Cachopa (1) and Mathew Sinclair (4) departed within two overs to be 57-3.
But Jeet Raval (48) and William Young (36) got the Stags within striking distance before captain Kieran Noema-Barnett and Black Cap Doug Bracewell finished the job and denied Bruce Martin (3-44) and Mitchell McClenaghan (3-55).
In Hamilton, Otago's Neil Broom and Michael Craig fought bravely to deny what had seemed a certain Northern Districts victory at Seddon Park.
Set a mammoth 440 to win, Otago fought for survival when Jimmy Neesham departed at 191-7.
But former Black Cap Broom (146 not out) and No 9 Craig (93) combined for 149 runs to deny ND the outright points.
Brent Arnel's removal of Craig gave the hosts a late sniff but the experienced Ian Butler saw off the remaining 7.1 overs in tandem with Broom.
The results leave CD (25 points) and Otago (24) at the top of the table, although they are the only teams to have played two games.
Wellington are third on 16 points.
The next Plunket Shield match is between Auckland and ND at Eden Park, starting on Saturday, but immediate attention turns to tomorrow night's televised Twenty20 clash between Wellington and Canterbury at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington have been bolstered by South Australian duo Shaun Tait and Cameron Borgas, while Canterbury have their own former Australian international in Tasmanian fast bowler Ben Laughlin.
- The Dominion Post
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