Rain delayed the start of play on Day Two. The ACES added 25 to the overnight total pushing it to 210, with a two over mid-off taking Matt McEwan past 1000 First Class runs.
The tight contest continued through the first session. Kyle Jamieson claimed his first wicket for Auckland, when George Worker gloved one through to Ben Horne down the leg side.
Though McEwan threatened the front pad on several occasions, Greg Hay and Ben Smith safely negotiated the Stags to lunch at 30/1.
After lunch, the ACES bowlers maintained the pressure and were thoroughly rewarded. McEwan struck twice, finding the edge of Smith and knocking back Hay’s off stump five balls later.
Jamie Brown joined in from the other end; his first wicket of the new campaign, Ross Taylor, caught comfortably by a waiting Martin Guptill at second slip.
The Stags were on the hop at 41/4. Brad Schmulian and Dane Cleaver then stitched together the best partnership of the day.
As the partnership developed, short-ball theory came into play. Jamieson, in particular, charged in from around the wicket and took aim at a length halfway down the pitch. The reintroduction of Brown to the attack proved a masterstroke, Cleaver unlucky for the ball to bounce onto his off stump off his body.
The ACES would not only take the good fortune but also a further three wickets after tea. It was Will Somerville’s turn, nabbing both Willem Ludick and Ajaz Patel during a concerted spell from the Kingsland Station end.
McEwan snuck the wicket of Ben Wheeler in between Somerville’s brace as the ACES continued to roll on.
Throughout, Schmulian showed great resolve on his way to a fourth First Class fifty. The rain returned cutting short Day Two. Schmulian will resume unbeaten on 66 with Seth Rance.
ACES 210 (Martin Guptill 62, Glenn Phillips 51, Robert O’Donnell 32, Willem Ludick 3-29, Blair Tickner 3-52) plays Central Stags 144/8 (Brad Schmulian 66*, Matthew McEwan 3-40)