Cricket: Bay need miracle at mystery park

By Wanganui v HB Marton By Anendra Singh

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Lincoln Doull
Lincoln Doull

The permutations of earning the right to challenge for the bragging rights to minor cricket supremacy this weekend are mindboggling, let alone do-able.

Perhaps a more pressing issue for Property Brokers Hawke's Bay senior men's representative cricket coach Lincoln Doull and his men was having to play at a park for the first time in almost 24 years.

Active Physio Wanganui are hosting the Bay in the final round of the two-day cup match at Centennial Park, Marton, from today.

The hosts preferred Victoria Park which is unavailable because it is the site of the Wanganui Festival of Cricket.

In many respects, a move down south is understandable considering they lost by 10 wickets to the Bay at Nelson Park, Napier, last summer.

"No one in our 15 has been to the ground," Doull said last night on arriving at the team motel.

"If it's good enough to host this level of cricket then it should be a reasonable ground," he said, expecting to see a "nice country, small-town" cricket venue but not keen enough to zip down to inspect it before today's start.

No doubt, it's a proud day for player-coach Dominic Rayner, as his Saracens club members and volunteer groundsman Dave Woolston have done a lot of work to bring the pitch up to scratch.

Saracens took over maintenance of the ground from the Rangitikei District Council's appointed contractors and, with funding help from the Rangitikei Cricket Trust, began work to upgrade the pitch and park surroundings.

With the help of builders in the club, the hosts have been chipping away with picket fences, rollers and mowers.

However, the Bay need a miracle to earn the right to challenge even if they do win outright today in what should be a "gimme".

Doull hastened to add "funnier things have happened in cricket".

Here's a rough sketch of what the permutations are for the last round of cup matches in zone two of the Central Districts region.

According to Doull, the visitors need to amass somewhere in the vicinity of 500-1 then roll the hosts for about 100 or fewer runs in both their innings.

Favourites Manawatu are hosting Taranaki at Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North, this weekend.

Effectively, the Bay need Taranaki to bowl out the Michael Mason-coached Manawatu twice over for fewer than 100 runs for an outright victory to do them any favours of qualifying.

Nevertheless, Doull and the Jacob Smith-captained Bay aren't going to concern themselves with the mathematical equations today on a windswept Centennial Park which may have some rain tomorrow.

"We're not even going to think about what Taranaki's doing tomorrow. We'll be focused on what we're doing so we can enjoy ourselves.

"If we get a challenge, it'll be a bonus but that part is out of our control."

In fact, the visitors need motivation and that will come from becoming the first Bay side to claim four outright victories in a cup season.

Doull is happy with his young brigade back from the Central Districts under-19 tournament in Christchurch.

The likes of seamer Ben Stoyanoff, Jayden Lennox and Charlie Robson have earned their stripes after last round's performance.

Matt Edmondson also opened with aplomb in the absence of injured Harry Hunter so Doull is happy to give him another crack.

"The young lads have stepped up all season so they are looking forward to the last game for the Bay."

The more experienced Smith, wicketkeeper Seb Langridge and seamer Ben Jackett will be expected to pave the way.

"They know they have to put in good performances and if they do then the others will follow their hard-nosed attitude so we'll get the result."

Doull was delighted to have the services of CD spinner Ajaz Patel.

"You can chuck him the ball and he'll put batsmen under pressure.

"He's also very capable with the bat. He's got two 50s."

Doull said if Patel soldiered on he would no doubt get back into the CD ranks this summer. The Stags have yet to win a game at any level.

For Wanganui, the usual strain from player unavailability has not dissipated as Under-19 World Cup-bound Henry Collier has been ordered to stand down by the national coaches after picking up a slight injury playing for the U19s in Christchurch, while his CD teammate, Nick Blundell, is remaining in Wellington and Dominic Lock's ankle injury rules him out.

However, batsman Brett Cameron returns from captaining the CD U17 team at the nationals in Wellington, where he was named in the tournament team after his team finished tied for second/third.

In December 2012 in Napier, the Bay blew Wanganui off the park for a miserly 79 in reply to Hawke's Bay's 252. While the follow-on score of 212 was a better effort, it still left the hosts only 39 to chase for victory.

WANGANUI: John McIlraith, Max Carroll, Brett Cameron, Fraser Kinnerly, Bryce Grant (c), Mark Fraser, Dominic Rayner, Chris Rayner, Ross Kinnerly, Sam O'Leary, Trent Hemi, Paul O'Callaghan.

Coach: Dominic Rayner.

HAWKE'S BAY: Jake Smith (c), Matt Edmundson, Seb Langridge, James Mackie, Scott Schaw, Jarrod Smith, Angus Schaw, Ajaz Patel, Jayden Lennox, Charlie Robson, Ben Stoyanoff, Ben Jackett.

Coach: Lincoln Doull.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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