Going out in any form of cricket is a given, no matter how prolific a run maker a batsman is on the platform of earlier innings or matches.

The hallmark of batsmen, therefore, is not just in their ability to park the disappointment to the corner of one's mind but also to convert that frustration into a steely resolve the next time they're out there in the middle to ask for middle and leg.

Central Districts wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver lends credence to that mindset after carving up his fourth first-class century on the opening day of round two of the four-day Plunket Shield match against the Auckland Aces today.

For Cleaver, it was simply a case of making up for the lost opportunity to convert his 56 runs at No 5 in the victory over the Canterbury Kings in the opening round at Saxton Oval, Nelson, last week.


"In the first game, I did all the hard work and then got out at a bad time so it was good to get a hundred today," the 26-year-old said as the Stags, with interim coach Ben Smith, of England, were 359/9 in 96 overs at stumps at the Eden Park outer oval today.

The Manawatu representative, as adroit behind the stumps with his gloves as any wicketkeeper in the past few seasons on the domestic landscape, can strengthen his case for national honours with putting up eye-catching figures on the scoreboard.

In the mantra of CD's culture of existence, the chances are Cleaver is more likely to play the collective card of what's more important to the Stags' campaign and retaining the symbol of red-ball domestic cricket supremacy.

However, it is fair to assume when a rash of fellow CD players is booking flights to the United Arab Emirates to put themselves in the equation for the ultimate Black Caps call up then it can't be easy, as a seasoned campaigner, to be coming to terms with having been left behind.

The prudent will argue the affable bloke has just as much right to be there to be moving progressively with the other chosen ones to the higher echelons.

"At the end of the day, for me, it's just about doing the best I can for the Stags so if I do get the opportunity, hopefully, making a fist of it," Cleaver said, acknowledging it's tough with so many adept wicketkeepers out there.

No one can fault his passion, dedication and hard-work ethics in the game but, he'll probably be the first to admit it, his batting statistics can immensely put him in a different wavelength of discussions when the national selectors start circling the boundaries to consider who should make the international cull.

"That's obviously the plan, to keep banging down the door and hopefully get an opportunity."


To put it bluntly, he belongs to a gene pool that yielded talented New Zealand batsman and skipper Kane Williamson, playing for the Northern Districts Knights.

Cleaver is Williamson's cousin and was named in New Zealand's squad for the Under-19 World Cup in 2010.

On reflection, the glove man must have come to the realisation, with his birthday approaching on January 1, he has to take ownership of his future if he is going to fulfil a childhood dream.

Shuffling up a rung in the batting order to No 4 with Black Caps maestro Ross Taylor not returning, Cleaver brought up his 100 off 157 balls, including 10 boundaries and four sixes, in 199 minutes.

In reaching 107 runs, the right hander claimed another milestone in carving up 2000 first-class runs.

The Stags compiled runs in clusters with the top five batsmen rolling into the two-digit although No 3 Bradley Schmulian and promoted No 5 Willem Ludick reached exactly 50 runs but couldn't go on to register three-figure innings.

Schmulian's knock was measured, if not sedate, from 69 balls, including nine boundaries, in 85 minutes.

Stags batsman Bradley Schmulian would have taken a birdie every other day on the golf course but he sees the funny side of it against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval today. Photo/Photosport
Stags batsman Bradley Schmulian would have taken a birdie every other day on the golf course but he sees the funny side of it against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval today. Photo/Photosport

The Havelock North CC premier men's cricketer would have taken a "birdie" every other day on a golf course this summer but a winged one did try to help him ease the tension on the crease today.

Cleaver said Schmulian was unlucky, getting pinged twice on the leg side in as many weeks.

Three-match-old Ludick, building on an unbeaten century, took 79 deliveries, including six fours and two lusty sixes, to add to the collective cause in occupying the crease for 126 minutes.

If anything, the propensity to free up his arms is an endorsement of the 21-year-old South African-born cricketer's confidence in making the transition to domestic level competition.

Perhaps, more importantly, it is a reflection of his schooling in the code growing up in Pretoria.

Captain Greg Hay's patient 33 runs from 79 deliveries should not be lost in translation because he and fellow opener Ben Smith (15 off 30 balls) face the onerous task of taking the shine off the new cherry.

Newbie Christian Leopard, at No 7, will rue not building on his 52 runs in the previous game but one can argue he has the licence to gauge the mood after going out for 19 following the 42-ball effort.

No 8 Adam Milne is anchoring the lower order, as one would expect of a Black Caps seamer with an unbeaten 28 runs, after allrounder Ryan McCone added 17 runs to the total.

Black Caps swing bowler Seth Rance doesn't like the tag of rabbit so he'll be disappointed to have registered a five-ball duck at No 10 but then, again, he's reserves are critical for skittling the Aucklanders, preferably, early tomorrow, especially New Zealand opener Jeet Raval.

Teenager Felix Murray, yet to score from 13 balls, should tick over Milne for a few more when play resumes tomorrow.

Cleaver lamented not "burying" the city slickers to post a don't-argue total but chastised himself for giving up his wicket at an inopportune time. Ditto Ludick who will put himself in the witness box.

"We could have been 400 and only five or six down but we're happy with what we have on the board," he said.

For the Aces, Matt McEwan, Danru Ferns, Raja Sandhu, Will Somerville took two scalps each and Sean Solia one.

Joshua Clarkson (CD) and Michael Barry (Aces) are the 12th men.