ONE-DAY format has all the seductive trappings of white-ball cricket but there's a good reason why it has 30 more overs in each of the two innings than the hit-and-giggle format of Twenty20.

The rush of blood to the head, needless to say, has to give way to more than a modicum of rationality required in the way players bat or bowl.

After two losses, the Central Districts Stags' top-order batsmen, in particular, must be beside themselves trying to find some rhythm and flow in their art after a bumper Super Smash campaign where they failed to harvest in their last dig against the Wellington Firebirds in New Plymouth a fortnight ago.

Yesterday the Wellingtonians again tormented CD captain William Young, who won the toss and chose to bat in Napier, and his mainly young charges after posting a four-wicket victory in round two of the Ford Trophy domestic men's competition.


Finding themselves on what has traditionally been a batsman's paradise at McLean Park the hosts came up terribly shy of a respectable total, let alone a defendable one.

You couldn't look at the seamers and spinners on a tennis-ball wicket because, frankly, the spittle shiners had little to bowl at.

The Heinrich Malan-coached CD, consciously shifting their attention to the pursuit of a fairytale three-peat of domestic 50-over glory, seem to be of the belief that if you find rhyme and reason then everything else will take care of itself.

Are the Stags still suffering from Twenty20 dry horrors?

"I think we may be a little bit," was the frank admission from No 6 batsman Joshua Clarkson after he purposefully posted 68 runs, two shy of his List A milestone 70 not out at No 7 in the opening-round two-wicket loss to the Canterbury Kings in Rangiora last Sunday.

Clarkson, who turns 20 when his side face the Northern Districts Knights in Hamilton on Saturday, carved up five boundaries and three sixes in his 111-minute occupation of the crease.

The migrant from Nelson openly admitted his task was easier than the the top five of George Worker, Jesse Ryder, Young, Tom Bruce and Dane Cleaver.

The figures of the top five - Worker 25 runs, Ryder 33, Young 12, Bruce 1 and Cleaver 33 - suggest there were starts but no one really looking keen enough to hang around to marvel at the credits of a potential box-office hit.

To fall back on the analogy of the wordsmith, some of the willow to leather on a balmy day came across like unrestrained alliteration halting the flow of a poem.

Instead of finding poetry in motion, the boys' shots came across like forceful consonant sounds that make for an unnatural pace where readers are reduced to reading words rather than rejoicing in their fluency.

You feel the pain of Clarkson when he reveals "it's a pity no one hung around" to build any meaningful partnerships as CD settled for mediocrity in the mould of 212-9 after 50 overs.

Clarkson, though, accepted he was fortunate in that his role had continuity in the transition from T20 to limited-overs cricket.

However, even he makes no sceret of the fact that he takes a few balls to get his eye in before freeing his arms in the middle order.

Making his List A debut, Manawatu seamer Navin Patel was unbeaten on 19 from 37 balls at No 10.

Patel almost came across as a batsman who turned every delivery into an event, almost demanding the mindset of first-class, red-ball cricket.

Perhaps the exemption of opening batsman Ben Smith to promote Ryder to open is a glimpse of Malan's mindset on a robust start to an innings.

"The wicket was a little two paced," Clarkson said but the irony is head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff is still in the throes of cultivating a drop-in pitch which won't be bedded in at the venue until after the domestic and international seasons are over.

Was maiden five-wicket bag man Anurag Verma that good or did he get lucky with the Stags making poor choices?

"Yes, we did take some wrong options," Clarkson said.

But he was sober enough to acknowledge any cricketer who claims 5-44 deserves the plaudits on a batting track.

He felt former ND seamer Verma artfully mixed up pace with slower deliveries to catch them out.

It was unusual to see recalled Black Cap Jeetan Patel and Worker create havoc with their tweaks although CD's Marty Kain didn't come to the party.

"Jeets and Woody did a great job," said Clarkson who Verma caught and bowled.

Every Wellington bowler stayed under 4.5 runs an over but Luke Woodcock who not only took 1-36 with his spin but also was the mainstay of the Firebirds' innings with an unbeaten 63 runs.

Opener Michael Papps scored 50 runs while No 4 Scott Borthwick contributed 40 to the cause.

Worker claimed 3-35 as Young employed seven bowlers, including part-timer Bruce.

"George is quality and he showed it again today," said Clarkson.

Wellington appeared to make hard work of it, with six balls to spare, when they overhauled the target with 214-6.

If you look at it from the perspective of the Dad's Army, the prudent will argue the Firebirds had all the deliveries to, slowly but surely, perhaps to leave the younger minds even more mentally scarred.

Wellington skipper Hamish Marshall and his troops again drive home a salient point that prowess in itself isn't sufficient.

To be hybrid, players need the cutting edge of experience and that is best reflected on the Ford Trophy table as the Firebirds sit second on eight points, one behind leaders Auckland Aces.

List A milestones beckon, such as seamer Seth Rance who needs two more scalps to tally 50 while Young needs 84 runs to clock 1000, but that'll be the furthest thing from the minds of a despondent changing room.

Pointless CD's rock bottom with the Otago Volts but, as Ryder will say, the Stags were in the same boat last summer and came back to win.