With 13 wickets falling on Day One, the ACES will want the more of the same when play resumes on Day Two against the Central Stags at Eden Park Outer Oval.
ACES captain Robert O’Donnell got his 50th First-Class match off to the best possible start, winning the toss and electing to bat first.
With overcast conditions and swing in the air, the Stags opening bowlers hit the ground running, reducing the ACES to 8/2 in the ninth over. Similar deliveries accounted for openers Sean Solia and Graeme Beghin as Seth Rance and Doug Bracewell found fine edges for Dane Cleaver to gather.
Glenn Phillips got the ACES moving with a pair of hooked sixes, including one on to the Eden Park concourse. Just as the ACES number three had found his feet, Bracewell came back for a second spell. Phillips feathered Bracewell’s loosener down the leg-side and the Stags had their third.
Mark Chapman (54) did his best to lead an ACES recovery while the ball continued to zip around during the first session. Rance (3-54) then swung one back through Martin Guptill’s defences and the ACES went to lunch in trouble at 61/4.
The struggle continued when Rance became the second Stags bowler to benefit from a leg-side strangle. It was an unfortunate way for O’Donnell to depart in his milestone match and Day One didn’t get any easier when Bracewell (3-18) returned to trap Chapman in front.
Debutant Joey Field made further inroads with a peach to hit Ben Horne’s off stump before Kyle Jamieson’s attempted pull looped to mid-wicket.
Will Somerville (14), Danru Ferns (18) and Ollie Pringle (19*) fought after tea to give the ACES total some respectability.
With 167 on the board, Jamieson steamed in. The ACES spearhead saw Stags opener George Worker have two fortunate escapes in the first three deliveries; first, a chance going down before a loud appeal for an edge through to Horne.
The ACES kept Greg Hay tied down through the opening five overs and were rewarded with his wicket when Ferns drew the Stags skipper into playing away from his body. Solia then had Will Young caught on the crease and the ACES smelt blood with the Stags at 33/2.
With late evening sunshine poking through, Worker formed a partnership with Ross Taylor. The BLACKCAPS veteran took his time to start before unleashing on Somerville late in the day.
It appeared as the ACES would be left frustrated at stumps, but Jamieson continued to charge in and nabbed Taylor in what turned out to be the final delivery of the day. Jamieson put the ball in a good area and Taylor sensed an opportunity to score but his outside edge flew to the left of Phillips, who took an outstanding catch at first slip.
Auckland ACES 167 (M Chapman 54, D Bracewell 3-18, S Rance 3-54) lead Central Stags 81/3