CENTRAL Districts lost both their unbeaten Shell Cup record and outright leadership of the competition yesterday by virtue of a single run. Replying to Auckland's 210-7, Central recovered from a feeble start and required a boundary off the last ball of their innings for victory, but only managed two runs. Former international Dipak Patel proved to be the Queen City side's matchwinner. Top scorer with 62, he also captured two crucial wickets. Wellington joined Central Districts and Auckland in a three-way tie at the top of the table after continuing the dominance of Otago they established during their Shell Trophy encounter earlier in the week. The South Islanders' meagre 121 all out was overhauled within 27 overs and for the loss of only three wickets. Mark Douglas' 53 not out was the backbone of the win. Northern Districts forced their way into the top four with a comfortable 39 run victory over Canterbury in the first ever Cup game at Taupe. Northern's 242-7 was built around the afternoon's only century - 101 from Michael Parlane - and always appeared well beyond the holders' reach. ACCORDING to reports from Las Vegas, New Zealand heavyweight boxer Jimmy Thunder will provide the first opposition in Evander Holyfield's comeback campaign, in the American gambling capital on March 17. Thunder, who won a gold medal at the 1986 Commonwealth Games when known as Jimmy Peau, has experienced mixed fortunes as a professional despite holding the obscure International Boxing Organisation world title. DANNY Morrison, New Zealand's top strike bowler since the retirement of Sir Richard Hadlee, will soon be heading for South Africa to reinforce the touring Kiwi cricketers. Morrison was omitted from the party originally selected due to doubts over his fitness following a hernia operation, however, the Aucklander's robustness has subsequently been proven in domestic cricket. He was the obvious choice when the New Zealand team management requested cover for the injured Dion Nash and Richard de Groen. Unfortunately, the comeback plans of New Zealand's other long-term injured Test pace bowler have been checked. Chris Cairns has been appearing for Canterbury exclusively as a batsman this season, but intended to bowl for the first time in almost a year during the just completed round of Shell Trophy games. Instead, he was in hospital having suffered a ruptured spleen as the result of being hit the previous week by a ball from, ironically, Danny Morrison. THERE are several familiar names amongst the New Zealand sevens squad which will compete in tournaments in Argentina and Uruguay next month. Eric Rush, Glen Osborne, Jonah Lomu, Martin Jones, Joe Tauiwi and Aaron Hamilton - all prominent figures in the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens winning combination - have been included in the nine-man party. Dallas Seymour, another hero of March, was not available because of injury. ACCORDING to the New Zealand Basketball Federation president, Peter Crowthen, an Asia-wide basketball league is 'at least three years away'. Reporting to the federation's annual general meeting, an obviously disconcerted Crowthen divulged that the proposed league, which had originally been scheduled for commencement this year with New Zealand entering a franchise, had stalled for reasons he declined to elaborate upon. The Kiwis will now look towards Australia's national league for additional international experience, but the concept of a New Zealand team in the NBL has met with a mixed response across the Tasman Sea.