For the second year in a row, it will be the 'young guns' who have to carry the ammo for Unreal Grass Wicket Wanganui at the Chapple Cup, starting tomorrow morning against Wairarapa at Napier's Nelson Park.
The annual 50-over knockout tournament for the eight association teams which make up the Central Districts catchment, the initial Chapple opponents are drawn randomly for the four games tomorrow, and then continue with another random draw between the four winning teams and the four defeated sides for their matches on Saturday.
Sides will then contend for either the Cup or consolation positions on Sunday, right down to the wooden spoon.
Wanganui have made three major changes from the side who lost on first innings to Hawke's Bay in the Furlong Cup on Sunday, all of them forced due to the unavailablity of veterans.
Just like last year, bowling allrounder Ross Kinnerley is required for the Whanganui Sports Awards tonight, but unlike 2018 he also has a Sunday commitment, meaning it is not worth it to travel over to Napier for one game out of three.
Dominic Rayner has a baby christening, while fellow veteran Mark Fraser is also unavailable.
Therefore, another senior batsmen in Chris Stewart has been selected to ideally anchor the top order, while Fraser Kinnerley replaces his brother and teenager Kashish Nauhria comes back into the squad after debuting in the first half of last summer.
Again, Wanganui will go without their young spinners Joel Clark and Dylan Martin.
Scheduling means the Central Districts Stags players are unavailable for their various associations this time, so Wanganui do not have the in-form Ben Smith to strengthen their batting.
After making solid starts but still getting out somewhat cheaply in red ball cricket last weekend, it is hoped the young Indian-Canadians Akash Gill and Akhil Kumar can have an impact as they return to their wheelhouse of white ball cricket.
The same can be said in the bowling department for player-coach Vikum Sanjaya, the former Sri Lankan Twenty20 international, especially without the swing of Ross Kinnerley to support him.
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There are five survivors from the Wanganui team which entered the 2018 Chapple Cup in Napier – losing heavily to Taranaki (92 runs) and Nelson (131), before beating Horowhenua-Kapiti by four wickets in their last game.
The Horowhenua-Kapiti game is where Collegiate 1st XI's Sam Sherriff scored his first 50 for Wanganui, and the squad is hoping he will finally be able to come out of his current slump to support the specialist batting group of Stewart, Greg Smith, skipper Dominic Lock and wicketkeeper Matthew Simes.
"I know I said it before, but he will come through," said team manager Andrew Lock.
There could be an opportunity for Wanganui to tiptoe through the tulips and advance further than in recent years, given they have fellow minnow Wairarapa first up, while last year's finalists and the perennial favourites – Hawke's Bay and defending champions Taranaki – have drawn each other in the first round.
Marlborough face Manawatu while Nelson take on Horowhenua-Kapiti in their opening matches.
"If you're going to win it, you've got to beat the best anyway," said Lock of the powerhouses facing off in Round 1.
While Wairarapa should be familiar opposition given two of their club teams – Lansdowne CC and Red Star – play in the Coastal Challenge Cup against the Wanganui squad members, one can never tell with their association team.
Wairarapa United CC pulled out of Coastal Challenge this season but could still have players in the representative squad, while there is always the prospect of them again securing talent who play in the Wellington club scene.
Lock said he saw the Wairarapa check-in sheet for their accommodation in Napier.
"They've got no names in there. They're very quiet about their [lineup]."
"You're always to beware of any team in a one-day format."
Play starts at 11am.
The Wanganui team is:
Dominic Lock (captain); Vikum Sanjaya (player-coach); Greg Smith; Akash Gill; Akhil Kumar; Connor O'Leary; Sam Sherriff; Matthew Simes; Chris Sharrock; Chris Stewart; Fraser Kinnerley; Kashish Nauhria.