Hawke's Bay cricketers eye Hawke Cup glory
Hawke's Bay cricket team's pace bowler Todd Watson is well qualified to comment on the side's chances of winning the Hawke Cup this weekend.
Although just 22, Watson, has played more than 40 games for the Bay over the last five summers. Like five of his Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay teammates in the side for the three-day challenge against North Otago which begins in Oamaru tomorrow and head coach Dave Castle, Watson, was in the team which won the cup, the symbol of New Zealand inter-districts cricket supremacy, two years ago off Nelson in Nelson.
The stocky Napier Technical club player, Watson (pictured above), believes the camaraderie and chemistry within the Bay squad this summer is top shelf.
"We're all mates and we all play for each other."
"We've put in some good performances with the bat and ball."
Napier Boys' High School product Watson is hoping the Centennial Park visitors can secure the victory and then retain the cup against next challengers Hamilton.
"We want to gain revenge against Hamilton and put the cup away for the winter," Watson said.
At the same time Watson knows the North Otago side can't be taken lightly.
"We've got a little bit of intelligence on them from anonymous sources. They beat a good Nelson team," Watson explained.
With his Texans club side aiming for a third consecutive national club title later in the season Watson knows Hawke Cup success and national club title glory in the same summer would look pretty good on his cricketing CV.
Along with Watson and Castle captain Angus Schaw and his Central clubmate Dominic Thompson, Cornwall's Bayley Wiggins, Taradale's Ben Stoyanoff and Texan Matt Edmondson were in the Bay team which won the Hawke Cup off Nelson two years ago.
Castle echoed Watson's comments.
"We're better prepared this time than we were in Nelson.
Castle was rapt with the Bay's winning Furlong Cup campaign in the Central Districts inter-districts competition which earnt them the challenge. His troops accumulated 62 points with two outright wins, two first-innings victories and one first-innings defeat.
"We played some good serious cricket," Castle recalled.
"We're better balanced than we were two years ago and we're pretty confident with the strong back up we have to our two blokes who have Central Districts commitments," Castle said.
He was referring to Jayden Lennox and Christian Leopard who are in the Stags squad for their final Ford Trophy fixtures of the season against Northern Districts in Hamilton tomorrow and Sunday.
"We don't count the likes of Doug Bracewell and Blair Tickner as we haven't seen much of them this season," Castle added.
The full Hawke's Bay team is:
Angus Schaw (captain), William Clark, Liam Dudding, Matt Edmondson, Izaiah Lange, Brad Schmulian, Ben Stoyanoff, Dominic Thompson, Graeme Tryon, Todd Watson, Jono Whitley, Bayley Wiggins.