An embattled Wairarapa senior men's cricket side will be without their most in-form bowler when they take on Hawke's Bay in a Hawke Cup zone two qualifying round match at Napier on Saturday and Sunday.
Red Star medium pacer Jarred Watt would have been a certainty after his taking of 12 wickets for 58 runs in a club match last weekend but an overseas trip has ruled him out.
Watt's unavailability is not the only bad news for a Wairarapa squad still looking for their first win in the 2012-13 season and suffering the ignominy of being dismissed for a record low 34 in the first innings of their Hawke Cup fixture against Taranaki.
Selector-coach Sam Curtis, arguably their best batsman, is still being troubled by the finger injury that sidelined him for the Taranaki match and there are doubts too that Daniel Ingham will be able to play.
Ingham made his first club appearance for Lansdowne last weekend but the fact he has already played for Otago A on the provincial scene this season could make him ineligible to turn out for Wairarapa as well. That would be a big blow to Wairarapa, as Ingham's proven abilities with bat and ball would be a huge asset.
It is not all doom and gloom for Wairarapa. On the bright side is the return of promising youngsters George Deans and Harry Clinton-Baker, who missed the Taranaki match because of their involvement in Rathkeale College's end-of-year function.
Deans is probably the frontrunner to open the batting with the gritty Tim Lucas. Usual tail-ender Sean Jarvis was promoted to that role against Taranaki and, while he had to be given full marks for resolve, the loss of Watt means he will probably be required to place greater emphasis on his skills as a medium-pace bowler in Napier.
Clinton-Baker, who is now playing for Red Star on the club scene, will shore up the middle order and it would not surprise if Curtis and fellow selector Brian James gave serious consideration to including Wairarapa Cricket Association chairman Justin Herbert. Herbert has been in fine form for Wairarapa College, including posting a century against Marist Old Boys. That is one of just two 100s scored in senior club play this season, Curtis registering the other.