Inspiration all-round in Cup opener

By Jared Smith,

The young guns need experience, the veterans have to find form and the professional wants to get back to the top level.

Young or older, each member of the Wanganui senior cricket team brings different motivation to their opening game of the Hawke Cup against Wairarapa in Masterton today.

In a side without a specific coach, it falls to Cricket Wanganui's administrator Dilan Raj, team manager Andrew Lock and the handful of experienced campaigners to foster and encourage a keen new crop.

Central Districts' contracted player Ben Smith will want to lead by example and put up some runs in the hunt to force his way back into the Stags.

Confident after a 123-run win against their opponents in the Chapple Cup one-dayer a few weeks ago in Hastings, Wanganui should get the opportunity in the next two days to further blood their promising teenagers at the crease.

The debutant is Collegiate teenager Andre Halbert, captain of the Central Districts Under-16s last season.

Raj said Halbert's consistent form at club and school level had earned his spot in the middle order.

The selection echoes that of fellow youngster Brett Cameron, who showed promise over the Chapple Cup weekend.

"This will let Brett bat and bat and develop his game," Raj said.

To this you can throw in 18-year-old Nick Blundell who has been picked for the Under-19 Youth World Cup squad, Collegiate teammate Henry Collier who needs some work on his inconsistent batting and Wanganui High School opening bowler Trent Hemi.

Raj feels Hemi could be quite effective at this level, especially with wicketkeeper Smith standing up to the stumps.

Twenty-year-old leg spinner Dominic Lock picked up four Wairarapa wickets in the Chapple Cup and will want to continue the trend.

How the youngsters fare could largely depend on their guidance from the senior hands captain Andrew McCaa was in good Chapple Cup form and would love his team to log in a long day with the bat.

Part of the core group, Mark Fraser is coming off a duck in club play last weekend and will want to regain form, especially with United's Tom Lance who scored a century not being available today due to farm work.

Dominic Rayner, Max Carroll and Brent Turner also want to alleviate pressure with good games.

Another youthful Wanganui group will have their chance to impress as the Under-11 and 15 squads also play in Masterton.

In Hawke Cup this season, Wanganui will play Hawke's Bay in Napier on December 1-2, Manawatu at home on December 15-16, then in the New Year they have home games against Taranaki on January 12-13 and Horowhenua-Kapiti on January 26-27.


Wanganui team

Andrew McCaa (c), Nick Blundell, Brett Cameron, Max Carroll, Henry Collier, Mark Fraser, Andre Halbert, Trent Hemi, Dominic Lock, Dominic Rayner, Ben Smith, Brent Turner.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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