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Nelson challenge for Prestigious Trophy

A buoyant Nelson Pine Griffins head off to Invercargill on Thursday to challenge Southland for the Hawke Cup in a three-day fixture from Friday to Sunday.  Southland has held the trophy since March of last year when they defeated Counties- Manukau outright and have had just one defense to date.  Nelson won the right to challenge by defeating Marlborough on the first innings two weeks ago in Blenheim.

Coach Ryan Edwards has made three forced changes to his team with the unavailability of Brendan Hodgson, Ben Hazlett, and Josh Simpson.  The newcomers are Josh Newport, Sam Baxendine and Devon Serrurier.  The latter two were themselves unavailable for the Marlborough match and may well have been selected if available.  The batting form of Felix Murray allied to that of Serrurier should overcome the batting losses.  Likewise, Newport and Baxendine will add firepower to the bowling artillery. 

Edwards knows his team must play the long game to be successful but is relatively satisfied with where his squad is at. “I am quite happy with the way we have been tracking in the last month and will be looking to the bowlers to put pressure on for long periods. “he explained, “We are ready to do the best job that we can but are trying to treat it as just another game of cricket.”

Centurion from the Marlborough match Greg Hay may prove to be an influential character.  He loves batting and will be hoping to go large again.  “The top five batting must be ruthless, and we need a couple of hundred plus partnerships from them,” said Edwards.  Hay may well be a key to this.

Nelson will be wary of the Southland left-arm spinner Ben Lockrose who has the first-class experience, but apart from that, it will just be about going through their own processes.  They have a dangerous new ball attack in young Jarrod McKay and Baxendine or Newport allied with multiple spin threats of Murray, Paddy Howes and David Zohrab.  The batting goes very deep as was evidenced by the 450 they scored in Blenheim.

This is a very talented team with everything to play for.  It has been 22 years (almost to the day) since Nelson last held the Hawke Cup. Their time is due.


Nelson Pine Griffins: Greg Hay (c), Thomas Zohrab, David Zohrab, Willie Ludick, Paddy Howes, Nic Clark, Devon Serrurier, Felix Murray, Ben Stark, Sam Baxendine , Jarrod McKay, Josh Newport

Southland: S. Fitzgibbon (c), R.Duffy , J.Domigan , V.Kotte , B.Lockrose , J.Mckenzie , J.Mockford , J.Ng , J.Osborne ,A.Singh , H.Skelt , D.Stewart


NELSON, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 1: Nelson Pine Griffins v Canterbury Country Hawke Cup 1/12/18on December 1 at Saxton Oval 2018 in Nelson, New Zealand. (Photo by: Evan Barnes Shuttersport Limited)


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