Wairarapa senior men's bowls selector Warren Wyeth accepts his team will be underdogs at the national interprovincial championships in Auckland this weekend but he's not completely discounting their chances of making the quarterfinals at least.
To reach the top eight, Wairarapa will have to finish first or second in a pool which also includes Southland, Counties Manukau, Wanganui, Nelson and North Harbour.
Of those sides, Wyeth rates Nelson as being "very hard to beat" but sees no reason why Wairarapa should not give a strong account of themselves against all five of their rivals.
"Most of our players have been around the representative scene for a good while now and they certainly won't be intimidated by the quality of the opposition," Wyeth said.
"In fact, I'd expect it to bring out the best in them."
Playing the singles for Wairarapa despite battling a knee injury will be Ian Monaghan (Masterton) and he will be in the hot seat from the start.
His first match is against New Zealand squad member Shannon McIlroy, a semifinalist in the singles at the world championships.
In the pairs for Wairarapa will be Les O'Donovan (Featherston) and Warren Fisher (Masterton), while the four is an all-Masterton affair: John Claydon, Graeme Tindall, Richard Anderson and Scott MacKenzie.
The prospects of the Wairarapa women's team are much the same as the men - they are unlikely to be among the favourites in a pool also including Hawke's Bay, Counties Manukau, Marlborough, South Otago and Thames Valley but quite capable of a bold showing.
The ever-reliable Judith Wyeth (Masterton) will play the singles for Wairarapa, with Eketahuna's Makaia Campbell and Wendy Mitchell in the pairs and Avis Cooper (Eketahuna), Jean Paku (Lansdowne), Teresa Hogg (Featherston) and Dorothy Christensen (Masterton) in the four.
Darkie Barrow was initially down to skip the latter but was unavailable to make the trip north.