The hallmark of any sports team isn't based on the flurry of punches they throw but how they pick themselves up after hitting the canvas in the opening round.
The Central Districts went down for a five-wicket count to the Auckland Aces in New Plymouth last Sunday. But yesterday the William Young-captained Stags showed they had cleared their heads and found their legs to clobber the Northern Districts Knights by 85 runs in Whangarei in round two of their one-day Ford Trophy campaign.
For CD coach Heinrich Malan it was simply a reinforcement of sticking to the script, something they had badly strayed from at Pukekura Park.
"We didn't have any memorable partnerships at the top and we had no batting depth to lock up 15 to 20 overs in a one-day game but in this game we've done that," Malan said after Young won the toss and elected to bat as CD posted an asking total of 334-8 from their allotted 50 overs.
Black Caps see-you-later batsman George Worker fell four runs shy of his ninth A-List century but still brought up a milestone 4000 career runs (in amassing 60 runs) in the limited-over domestic cricket competition.
Worker, 28, of Manawatu, faced 115 balls in 162 minutes, carving up 11 fours and two sixes.
But spurned former Black Caps veteran Jesse Ryder carved up his 11th List A century when he scored 107 runs at No 3, at almost a run a ball (106), during his 143-minute occupation of the crease.
Ryder, 34, of Napier, found the boundary 10 times and lofted the ball over the ropes three times.
"Jesse played really well and George was unlucky not to get a hundred as well but they showed that on a really good batting surface, if you spend some time out there, you can put some good runs the board and put us in a position to apply some pressure on the opposition," said Malan, adding that type of cricket was an endorsement of the CD brand.
The pedigree among the Stags was such that despite hiccups they were adept at hauling themselves back into the slipstream of Big Mo.
"They both batted at almost the 100 per cent strike rate but we also had a couple of cameos at the back end," Malan said of ex-Black Caps allrounder Doug Bracewell, who scored a lusty 43 from 20 deliveries before falling prey to ND legspinner Ish Sodhi.
Worker and Ryder, he stressed, were the epitome of consistency, with the former showing it for the past four years while the latter's figures needed no translation.
That sort of temperament, he suspected, was likely to rub off on the likes of Joshua Clarkson.
Malan said that was the sort of attribute CD were encouraging before the glitzy Burger King Super Smash T20 starts on Sunday next week.
The Knights had lost too many wickets and, when they forged a few starts, failed to go on, thanks to Black Caps fast bowler Adam Milne, seamer Blair Tickner and spinner Ajaz Patel as they were skittled for 249 with 41 balls to spare.
Daryl Mitchell (52 from 57 balls) and Sodhi (44/28) raised ND hopes, especially after they went after Patel, who went for 23 runs in the 37th over, and part-time spinner Worker for 13 runs - but Tickner put an end to that sort of carry-on.
Malan said that was always the scenario for teams desperately chasing down daunting targets so he expected CD bowlers to adjust to that.
"It's a bit of a learning curve for those two boys. Jazzy is pretty new in the white-ball environment although he's been around in the red one and has done well in that format [four-day Plunket Shield]," he said, adding the T20 cauldron would test the mettle even more.
He gave a thumbs up to Milne for taking eight overs in his stride to boost his load.
The Stags, who are unbeaten in the four-day competition, host the Otago Volts in round three at Pukekura Park this Sunday before the T20 starts.