Hawke Cup Cricket: Hawke's Bay will be moved by pride

By Anendra Singh


Hawke's Bay v Wanganui, Nelson Park, Napier

The hoardings, miniature video camera planted on a crane and the scorers' caravan will be conspicuous by their absence at Nelson Park, Napier, at the conclusion of the four-day Plunket Shield match this week.

The 22 players who will ask for middle and leg before scuffing a freshly prepared wicket not far from the shield one from today will be playing an equally significant game, albeit not a first-class one.

Retaining contractual obligations will not be an issue for the Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's players.

No doubt they will bear in mind back-to-back solid performances in the Hawke Cup elimination match against Wanganui and other Central Districts provincial sides this summer can go a long way to securing a berth in CD coach Alan Hunt's squad.

No, the blokes in the Lincoln Doull-coached Bay team will be playing for something intangible - pride.

To win and accrue the maximum seven points after each game will pave the path to earn the honour to claim the bragging rights to minor association supremacy.

It pays to know only a select few in the country can claim they have won the Hawke Cup, let alone defended it.

No one is more mindful than Doull that putting the same 11 out on the park isn't always a given in cricket.

Consequently he and skipper Jacob Smith will relish that consistency in their second cup elimination match.

It was fitting they trained in the first-class training nets at Nelson Park on Wednesday. It'll be even more beneficial if they embraced some of captain Kieran Noema-Barnett and the Stags' culture as they lead in the Plunket Shield campaign on the foundation of hard work and self-belief that saw tail-enders score or flirt with centuries and specialist batsmen roll their arms for match-defining wickets.

Asking Doull what he knows about Wanganui perhaps gives the best indication of what the mindset is all summer.

"They shouldn't be as strong as us if we play to our potential.

"They understand Hawke Cup cricket and they've got [CD Stag] Ben Smith," Doull says, adding a former Cornwall Cricket Club cricketer Mark Frazer, a left-armer, also offers them some impetus.

"I don't think they are to be underestimated."

He feels the traditionally flat Nelson Park wicket will make it an even contest.

With rain forecast tomorrow, he expects it won't make much difference as head groundsman Phil Stoyanoff and his staff will use the covers well.

While the wicket offered the Otago Volts some traction on the first day of the four-day Plunket Shield match on Monday, Doull says he has spoken with Stags coach Alan Hunt, who feels the visitors have paid the price of bowling short.

"If we get a reasonable length - a little further up than short - we should get the rewards.

"We seem to get nicks to get guys out, so we're pretty happy to bowl a little fuller."

The Bay have the benefit of including CD opening batsman Jeet Raval, from the Havelock North Club premier men's team, but Doull left him out.

CD squad member Ajaz Patel, of Taradale Cricket Club, may be a back-up in the shield match after ex-Black Cap leg spinner Tarun Nethula popped an AC joint in his shoulder on Wednesday in the shield game.

Doull is happy that young Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay off-spinner Angus Schaw will be handy if Patel makes his first-class debut for CD.

"I think he's got a great future, so we're prepared to work with him all season to give him the opportunity," he says, emphasising he claimed a five-wicket bag last weekend in premier club cricket.

Complete Flooring Napier Technical Old Boys (NTOB) batsman Bronson Meehan also has the ability to tweak the ball.

The Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall pair of Smith and Lindisfarne College pupil Jack Arnall offer a left-arm variation.

"Liam just gets better and better every time he plays club cricket," he says of Tech opening bowler Liam Rukuwai.

"We also have the pace of Stevie Smidt [Tech] and Andrew Mathieson [CD Stag, The Station Napier Old Boys Marist]," he says, satisfied with the spread of quickies, swingers and spinners.

Doull says going out with the attitude of claiming seven points is vital after beating Horowhenua-Kapiti in their first cup qualifier.

"It showed that last game when Horowhenua-Kapiti dug in deep on that second day to make it very hard for us to get an outright win.

"They didn't just roll over to play dead. I don't think any team in this competition will."

It's imperative his top-order batsmen of Smith, Meehan, James de Terte and Michael Taiaroa score decent runs after wicketkeeper Seb Langridge saved the blushes with a game-saving innings in the middle order against Poverty Bay in the Kirk Cup match early last month in Hastings.

"We got a couple of guys who got 50s, but we need in this level of cricket 50s need to be converted to 90s and 100s. The 10s and 20s need to 50s and 60s," he says of the 2012-13 Chapple Cup champions.

Strong Hawke Cup sides often post a total in the vicinity of 400 runs.

He says CD have shown players can bat all the way down to No 10 and 11.

"Even the guys at 9 and 10, if they play straight and put some value on their wickets, they can accumulate 50, 60 or 70 runs each.

"If they have a top-order batsman with them, then that guy should go on to make 140 or 150."

If there's cloud cover and some moisture makes the wicket tacky, Smith will no doubt consider shining the ball should the coin give him a break.


The teams:


Hawke's Bay: Angus Schaw (CHB); Jacob Smith , Michael Taiaroa, Jayden Waters, Sebastian Langridge, Jack Arnall (all Cornwall); Andrew Mathieson (NOBM); Bronson Meehan, Liam Rukuwai, Stevie Smidt (all NTOB); James de Terte, Ajaz Patel (both Taradale).

Coach: Lincoln Doull.

Wanganui (possible): Andrew McCaa (c), Brett Cameron, Max Carroll, Henry Collier, Mark Fraser, Trent Hemi, Bevan Hunter, Ross Kinnerley, Dominic Lock, Dominic Rayner, Ben Smith.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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