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Cricket: Rain delays frustrate Stags on day one

By Anendra Singh

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Ben Smith
Ben Smith

Heinrich Malan is a prophet of positivity but last night the Central Districts Stags coach sounded like he was at the end of his tether.

"It's been a frustrating day on and off the park," the South African lamented after the Devon Hotel-sponsored Stags and the Otago Volts managed to play only 32.3 overs at Saxton Oval, Nelson, on day one of the four-day Plunket Shield match.

"It's the story of our season. It seems the rain is following us everywhere," Malan said after Otago skipper Derek de Boorder won the toss and elected to bowl when persistent rain followed on the heels of an early delay.

Second-placed Volts looked to have justified their captain's decision when James McMillan rattled opener Jamie How's furniture for just five in the third over but CD ground out to 93-1 at stumps.

Opener Ben Smith (43no) continued in his rich vein from the previous drawn round against the Wellington Firebirds in Napier with No3 Carl Cachopa unbeaten on 36 for a second-wicket partnership of 87.

Malan said the forecast was for rain from 3pm but it all went awry from the morning and wasn't expected to clear until midday today.

CD have opted to go with two spinners in Tarun Nethula and Ajaz Patel on the understanding the pitch will offer them some purchase on day four.

Malan said the Stags were taking the momentum they had found in their second innings at McLean Park against the Firebirds.

Seth Rance, of Wairarapa, comes in as a right-hand seamer who has the ability to shape the ball into lefty-heavy Otago batsmen.

"Rossy [CD director of cricket Craig Ross] identified Seth after seeing him play a few games," he said of the 26-year-old who made his first-class debut in 2008-09 but became a notable absentee after 2010-11 after doing well in the white-ball formats.

"He just got married a few days ago and is a bit older so cricket isn't everything for everybody," Malan said, adding Rance offered an exciting alternative to skipper Kieran Noema Barnett and opening seamer Bevan Small who shaped the ball away from right-hand batsmen.

CD have released Roald Badenhorst for Manawatu's Hawke Cup challenge match against the bay of Plenty this weekend.

Stags prospect Joey O'Connor, of Nelson, has stepped in as 12th man.

Elsewhere, Auckland limited a fast-starting Canterbury for day-one honours at Hagley Oval.

Rain also affected the Firebirds v Northern Districts Knights game at Karori Park.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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