Central Stags out to finish on winning note
The Central Stags have made three changes for their final match of the 2020/21 season as Test spinner Ajaz Patel returns to the squad needing just seven more victims to reach 250 first-class career wickets.
Patel returns following the birth of his daughter, alongside fellow Hawke’s Bay reps Liam Dudding and Christian Leopard, while allrounders Doug Bracewell (quad) and Joey Field (groin) will sit out the final round at Napier’s McLean Park with injury.
The Easter weekend finale is against unbeaten Plunket Shield champions Canterbury and Central Stags captain Greg Hay says he would dearly like his side to become the only team to take a win off Canterbury this season over the next four days.
The match will begin at the customary time of 10.30am tomorrow, Saturday 3 April and the remaining three days of play will start one hour earlier at 9.30am, following the reversion of Daylight Saving.
Paceman Dudding - Hawke’s Bay Cricket’s player of the season - stands to play his first Plunket Shield match since April 2017 should he be selected in the starting XI whilst allrounder Christian Leopard is in line for his first first-class start since October 2018.
Fellow Hawke’s Bay representative Brad Schmulian is meanwhile coming off his second Plunket Shield century, having contributed 191 runs to the team effort in Dunedin with knocks of 127 and 64, where he shared a 187-run stand for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Cleaver (99).
The historic Plunket Shield trophy will be presented to Canterbury at the ground at the conclusion of the match, Canterbury having locked up the first-class championship after six of the eight rounds this summer. BLACKCAPS Matt Henry, Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls have returned to the Canterbury squad for their final match. The Plunket Shield is free admission.
CENTRAL STAGS SQUAD
ROUND 8 of 8 v CANTERBURY
McLean Park, Napier
10.30AM Saturday 3 April 2021 and 9.30AM Sunday 4 to Tuesday 6 April 2021
Admission: free every day
Greg Hay (captain) — Nelson
Tom Bruce — Taranaki
Josh Clarkson — Nelson
Dane Cleaver (wicketkeeper) — Manawatu
Liam Dudding — Hawke’s Bay
Christian Leopard — Hawke’s Bay
Ajaz Patel — Hawke’s Bay
Ben Smith — Whanganui
Brad Schmulian — Hawke’s Bay
Blair Tickner — Hawke’s Bay
Ray Toole — Manawatu
George Worker — Manawatu
Coach: Aldin Smith
Unavailable (injury) : Doug Bracewell, Joey Field, Seth Rance, Ben Wheeler
Unavailable (BLACKCAPS) : Ross Taylor, Will Young