Legendary Australian cricket captain and commentator Ian Chappell once opined that if you win the toss, then nine out of ten times you bat, and the other time you think about bowling before deciding to bat.
Facing what is likely to be a very strong Taranaki outfit, while without two key veterans and a solid pace bowler, Unreal Grass Wicket Wanganui will require a two-pronged hope for the resumption of their Furlong Cup campaign at Victoria Park on Saturday morning.
The first is that captain Dominic Lock comes back to the team huddle with good new about said toss up, the other is that they can then prove worthy of it by raising a score well north of 200 and batting the better part of the first day at least.
"That would be the plan for most times," said Wanganui manager Andrew Lock.
Otherwise, a visiting team desperate to stay in contention to claim the Furlong Cup after their great start to the season was spoiled by two rain-affected matches, not to mention being hungry for some payback, will take firm control on proceedings and likely keep it.
Wanganui pulled one of their great upsets 12 months ago at Pukekura Park when they took eight wickets for 51 runs to set up a narrow first innings points win over Taranaki, the first since at least 2001.
The home team players had strips torn off them in the dressing room after the match, and made a point of gifting Wanganui all of their beers to have a celebration.
As a small postscript to that story, another bitter dose was handed out at Pukekura Park this December, when some of the Taranaki rep players likely to be involved on Saturday were in the New Plymouth Marist United team beaten by Wanganui Vet Services Marist in the NCC qualifier.
Lock therefore expects a visiting team not lacking for motivation.
"That is my concern, I had thought about that."
Only two members of the current Wanganui XI played in that NCC match, both of them called in for this rep game after the departure of clubmates.
From the Wanganui squad that lost to Wairarapa in Masterton back in December – chasing a low first innings target they should never have missed – veterans Dominic Rayner and Mark Fraser, along with Connor O'Leary, declared themselves unavailable a couple of weeks ago.
Having missed the Masterton match, Matt Simes comes back into the team and will regain the wicketkeeper gloves, being joined by acting Marist skipper Hamish Harding and Tech opener Kashish Nauhria, who has been struggling for runs at club level.
Wanganui should be encouraged there have been some run-getters in their top order.
Greg Smith scored a quick-fire century for Property Brokers United last weekend in the Coastal Challenge match in Masterton, while Sam Sheriff got a 50 for Tech at Victoria Park.
Dominic Lock finally found form with a composed unbeaten 37 to guide Tech to the win in that game.
Usually heavily involved in Central Stags cricket over the New Year period, Ben Smith has not had as much game time as previous summers, but Andrew Lock said he did score a century in a recent outing for CD A.
"He'll be in the usual form, I'd say.
"I imagine their first class boys are available, as ours were, [but] they've got a few to pick from."
Central Districts are not in the Dream Supersmash finals and with the Ford Trophy not getting underway until February 2, it is possible the big Taranaki names like Tom Bruce, Ryan Watson and Dean Robinson could all play to get some red ball practice.
It will require the Wanganui pace attack to be patient and able to keep the ball on a tight length.
Ross Kinnerley was not his usual effective self last weekend in club cricket, although brother Fraser is in a purple patch, having taken nine wickets in two games across New Year.
Andrew Lock does admit there is a difference between ripping through a Wairarapa club team's middle order and the Taranaki lineup.
"You still have to take them, and he's doing that.
"He's been going all day, just got a little bit of something extra at the moment."
In Taranaki's campaign so far, they had an outstanding beginning in early November to shock perennial Furlong winners Hawke's Bay for a low total to get first innings points, and then just hang on through the third and fourth innings fightback for the win.
But then rain prevented any result against Wairarapa two weeks later when Taranaki were working their way to a reachable target, and then in December they were upset themselves with two major collapses against Horowhenua-Kapiti - resulting in a first innings points loss when rain prevented a full match.
These results and others have left Manawatu as surprise leaders of the competition with two matches remaining.
Play begins at 10.30am on Saturday.
The Wanganui team is:
Greg Smith, Sam Sheriff, Akash Gill, Ben Smith, Dominic Lock (c), Ross Kinnerley, Chris Sharrock, Vikum Sanjaya (player-coach), Fraser Kinnerley, Hamish Harding, Matt Simes, Kashish Nauhria.