A recurring nightmare for Central Districts shaded a bright star of the future as the Plunket Shield leaders got the speed wobbles against Wellington yesterday.
The Firebirds go into day two at Karori Park in command thanks to another Jesse Ryder century; his third in as many first-class innings against the Stags.
With Ryder rollicking along on 108, Wellington will resume on 176-2 in reply to Central's 260, an innings propped up by a finely-crafted maiden century from 20-year-old Will Young.
It was a shame Young's efforts in the howling northerly were overshadowed by Ryder's late-afternoon assault as the Taranaki product deserved his plaudits.
Last year's New Zealand Under-19 captain is playing his eighth first-class match and his previous best was 50 not out.
Arriving at 58-3 when Mathew Sinclair stalked off, clearly unhappy with umpire Derek Walker's caught behind decision, Young hit 121 off 151 balls, including 16 fours and a six, before he was last out. One seasoned observer likened him to a young Ross Taylor, and he certainly showed composure and had plenty of time against a handy pace attack of Mark Gillespie, Chris Woakes and Scott Kuggeleijn.
"He's a quality player and we could tell that when we first saw him," Stags coach Alan Hunt said.
"I don't compare him to anybody but I think he's a real player for the future. Those who saw him play today will remember that name."
Young said there was minimal seam movement but early swing for the pacemen and Ryder's onslaught late in the day put things in context.
"I scratched around and got mine off about 60 overs and he blasted his off about 30," Young said. "It's a pretty flat wicket once you get in. I just tried to be patient and wait for the bad balls."
The Firebirds bowlers were largely expensive but took regular wickets; Gillespie and Kuggeleijn each snaring three and setting up a crack at some much-needed outright points.
"We batted poorly. There were shot selections that were sub-standard," Hunt said.
Then Ryder feasted on some tasty offerings from a Central attack missing the injured Adam Milne (Achilles), Ben Wheeler (hamstring) and Doug Bracewell (hand). Once again, it looked like a man against boys.
Ryder's 13th first-class century came up off 98 balls, and featured nine fours and four sixes. No wonder there were long faces in the Stags camp, Ryder blasted 117 not out and 174 against them in Napier, then a rapid 75 in Friday's T20 game.
After former Firebird Andrew Lamb removed Josh Brodie and Stephen Murdoch cheaply, Ryder and Michael Papps (58 not out) added an unbroken 161, with more to come today.
Meanwhile, Milne will be checked by New Zealand Cricket's doctor, Ian Murphy, before he's cleared to fly to South Africa with the Twenty20 squad this week.
The fast bowler was withdrawn by Stags management just before the toss yesterday with soreness in his Achilles tendon.
"He had some shin problems last week, had a rest and came up OK but he just tweaked something. It doesn't seem to be serious but it'll get checked by the NZ Cricket doctor this week before they send him away," Hunt said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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