Young guns out for last match

By Jared Smith

You give a few and you get a few actually you give a lot and you get back a bare handful.

So it is with Wanganui's senior cricket team for the journey to Paraparaumu for the start of tomorrow's final Hawke Cup game of the season with fellow minnows Horowhenua-Kapiti.

They will front up with both their strike bowler and most consistent batsman having been held in Christchurch following Central District's U19 campaign.

It is a welcome elevation for the teenagers, but nonetheless Nick Blundell and Henry Collier will be missed while part of a wider New Zealand Under 18 training squad being fostered for the 2014 Under 19 World Cup.

Brett Cameron returned late last night and likely exhausted from Christchurch, where he has been in Central District's Under 17 side.

However he may not have to take the gloves as Wanganui manager Andrew Lock was "80-90 per cent" sure Central District's representative Ben Smith will be available.

"We're still fairly hopeful but of course it's out of our control."

Smith being released by Central District's will prove crucial to shore up a batting lineup looking decidedly brittle without Collier.

It could be one big individual innings which decides the match at Kena Kena Park as both sides struggled with the bat in their last outings.

Horowhenua-Kapiti had to follow on a fortnight ago against Wairarapa, who ultimately won by nine wickets.

Given this was the same Wairarapa that Wanganui took a first innings victory against in November, Lock agreed his side really wanted to end a middling-campaign on a high.

To do this, more will be needed from a top order who failed twice, even after being offered a sporting target, against a motivated Taranaki at Victoria Park.

"One can only hope we're obviously going to have to bat well," said Lock. "Horowhenua-Kapiti won't be any pushover especially at home.

"We beat them last year, this definitely pencilled in as our attempt at an outright win.

"The toss can make it or break it over there. There's no reason we can't go for it."

Without Blundell, the attack does not have that sharp ring about it.

Veteran Dominic Rayner has Trent Hemi and Travis Bartels as his fellow seamers, while Mark Fraser and Dominic Lock provide the spin options.

Called back into the team, Tech's batsman Bevan Hunter can also trundle down a few overs if need be.

Other new faces in the lineup are Marist's John McIlraith and Craig Thorpe.

The decision over the captain will likely come down to either Rayner or Smith, both who have led the team at different times in this campaign.

The likely danger man in the home team's lineup is former Central Stag Ewan Thompson.

While his teammates may have fallen down all around him against Wairarapa, Thompson was the pick of the bowlers and his knock of 90 was the only reason Horowhenua-Kapiti avoided a humiliating innings defeat.

Tomorrow's game was scheduled to be played at Victoria Park, but with Wanganui busy with the Festival of Cricket, Horowhenua-Kapiti offered to host the match.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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