The loss of Air Chathams Whanganui representative cricket player/coach Charlie Hartley has been offset with the availability of Central Districts Stag player Ben Smith for this weekend's Furlong Cup clash with Horowhenua-Kapiti in Levin.

Cricket Whanganui chairman Stu Gillespie said it was with regret and some disappointment that Hartley has had to return to the UK.

"This is a result of his grandfather having had a stroke. It was decided that Charlie should return home at this time," Gillespie said.

"We wish him safe travels and his grandfather a speedy recovery."


It was also decided at this stage not to appoint a new coach for the remaining Furlong Cup games.

"Tom Lance has been appointed selector for the men's senior rep team and the senior players will facilitate the trainings. Andy Lock will continue as the manager and with support from CW staff, it will be business as usual," Gillespie said.

Meanwhile, CW general manager Dilan Raj said with no Stag duty this weekend Ben Smith was available to play for his homeside.

"Ben hasn't played any Furlong Cup matches for us lately and I think the last time he played for Whanganui was Chapple Cup last year," Raj said.

"The team for the weekend has not been selected yet, but it's great to have Ben available."