Huge challenge awaits Wanganui

By Jared Smith,

They bat down as far as number 10 and goodness knows they might have to.

The Wanganui cricket team is fully aware of the gravity of their situation as a hungry Manawatu determined to assert control on the Hawke Cup table arrives in town today.

On a low, slow track that has been put together with the mindset of blunting Manawatu's quicks intimidatingly led by player-coach and former Black Cap Michael Mason Wanganui do not want this to be a day for the record books.

In rugby, a hammering is called running up a cricket score, but the adjective can run both ways.

Hawke Cup 2012-13 has already seen a couple of embarrassing rugby scores, notably with Manawatu playing the hatchet men at Pukekura Park in November when they massacred Taranaki in a day dismissing them for a minuscule 35 and 80 respectively for an innings' thrashing.

"This is true but rumour has it there are a number of players out," said Wanganui manager Andrew Lock.

Lock's moles have served him well as Manawatu's Roald Badenhorst and Bevan Small have both been called up for Central Districts duty, with Mason now spearheading a new-look bowling attack.

In other good news, Wanganui's own ray of hope, Ben Smith, returns and although his injured finger may see Brett Cameron wear the keeper's gloves, the reliance on the Central Districts representative in the order is nearly total. "It speaks for itself your quality player has to be called upon every time," said Lock, who yesterday had yet to discuss with Smith if they might chance their arm batting first today.

Smith also takes over the captaincy after Andrew McCaa announced his retirement from representative cricket, having been with Wanganui since his arrival from Marlborough around a year ago.

Lock said the younger squad members have had a full week with Dilan Raj to work on their batting, starting with the Young XI game with Taranaki on Monday.

For the likes of Andre Halbert and Dom Lock, who fell cheaply at Pukekura Park, the pressure is on.

"They've had plenty of opportunity to correct anything," said Lock.

"I think a lot of them definitely found that next step up on Monday was a considerable one, even though they have played Hawke Cup before.

"They will have to step up again because even a weak Manawatu is a strong Manawatu."

While Smith was like Atlas carrying the team with his century a month ago against Wairarapa, Lock pointed out the rest of the squad made competent cameos in partnership.

It may need to be the same for the next two days as Wanganui's number 9 and 10 would not look out of place in the middle order.




Ben Smith (c), Nick Blundell, Brett Cameron, Max Carroll, Henry Collier, Mark Fraser, Andre Halbert, Trent Hemi, Morgan Innes, Dominic Lock, Dominic Rayner, Kane Watkin.


Luke Murray (captain), Brynn Cleaver, Dane Cleaver, Hayden Hill, Michael Mason, Phil Mecredy, Dave Meiring, Arana Noema-Barnett, Navin Patel, Mitch Renwick, Tim Richards, Bryn Templeman.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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