They call it first-class cricket for a reason and the Central Districts Stags showed they belong to that caste after another resounding victory in Christchurch yesterday.
The Heinrich Malan-coached Stags broke the spirit of the Canterbury Kings batsmen twice as the hosts capitulated to the tune of an innings an 86 runs before lunch and after captain William Young took the new ball.
CD's second outright win on the trot for the maximum 20 points came with two sessions to spare, on the heels of having beaten the Auckland Aces outright at Saxton Oval, Nelson, last week, following a stalemate with the Northern Districts Knights in their opening four-day Plunket Shield encounter.
"The boys have played some good cricket with good performances spread across the four days," said Malan, stressing that had been the case in back-to-back affairs.
"It's a fantastic effort leading into the first five games of the Plunket Shield."
The Stags remain on the second rung of the domestic table, 15 points behind the Wellington Firebirds who are on a dream start of three consecutive outright wins.
Malan said it was imperative half a dozen players had to put their hand up consistently.
"The top order put on a couple of hundreds and a big one from Greg Hay and then Seth [Rance] bowled well in the first innings and Ticks [Blair Tickner] did that in the second innings."
It excited the South African coach to see his young charges coming of age to work as a collective.
Paceman Blair Tickner took a first-class career best haul of 4-41, agonisingly missing out on a maiden five-wicket bag. The Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay cricketer had also rattled the stumps from the bowler's end for an outstanding run out to dismiss Australia-born Daniel Sams for four runs.
However, Malan lauded his entire bowling attack for claiming scalps at different stages to build concerted pressure on the batsmen.
He said it was surprising the spinners from both teams didn't find as much traction as expected on a wicket that looked abrasive at both ends.
"Even then our boys did a good job in putting it around the off stump to ask questions of the Canterbury batsmen."
He singled out former Black Cap batsman Jesse Ryder who fell shy off 11 runs in rewriting the shield history books with four consecutive tons.
"I can't be more pleased for a guy who is trying to find his way back into higher honours. He's working really hard and is batting as well as he can so he's a fantastic player and he's really talented."
Malan said it was heartening to see Ryder's resolve rubbing off on the young players, such as wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver and Bevan Small, whose cricketing awareness had risen to a fresh threshold.
"He's made an offer on a house in Napier so with a little bit of luck he'll be a local resident pretty soon, which will be great," he said of Ryder who had put his Wellington house on the market.
The Stags disperse today and assemble in Napier on Tuesday to jet to Dunedin to play third-placed Otago Volts, on 25 points, from Wednesday.
Defending champions Canterbury, on equal 25 points, will find no respite at the Basin Reserve against the Firebirds.
The Aces (24 points) travel to Seddon Park to play the last-placed Knights (17 points), the only side yet to claim an outright victory.