It's a game seamers will want to forget but Central Districts coach Heinrich Malan can be excused for taking a mental excursion due to other more pressing issues.

The Devon Hotel-sponsored Stags fought courageously yesterday but lost their four-day Budget Rental Plunket Shield match by 47 runs in a dramatic run chase against Mondiale Auckland Aces at Eden Park outer oval.

At first glance, dropping opener Ben Smith to No 7 for an unbeaten 50 in the second innings appeared to be a rip-snorting idea but in the post-match interview Malan revealed he was demoted because he had a shoulder injury, hadn't fielded in the Aces' second dig and was out now.

But that's not all. The other CD opener, George Worker, promoted from middle order to replace Smith, is out for the rest of the season after breaking his right hand when a ball struck him.


Add to that the unavailability of seamers Navin Patel and Kurt Richards due to studies and Malan will be scratching again to confirm his XI for the round eight game against the ND Knights in Hamilton from Tuesday.

"Doug Bracewell's playing club cricket tomorrow so we'll see how he goes," he said as Taradale compete in the semifinals of the Property Brokers 50-over competition.

Ben Wheeler, Seth Rance and Andrew Mathieson remain among the walking wounded.

"Life's not easier" but Malan saw that as an opportunity for either Liam Dudding or Ben Stoyanoff to put their hand up at the Hawke Cup match in Napier for a chance to debut for the CD.

Malan sang the praises of spinner Ajaz Patel, adding it wasn't so much that he got 11 wickets but more his methodology in field settings and areas to bowl that impressed him.

"It's a game seamers will want to forget ... but it never crossed my mind not to bowl Ajaz."

The Aces retain their perch on the top rung of the shield ladder.

In Invercargill, Canterbury beat Otago by five wickets and Wellington beat ND at the Basin Reserve by three wickets.