• Uncapped Hawke’s Bay duo named in Central Stags Plunket Shield squad

Uncapped Hawke’s Bay duo named in Central Stags Plunket Shield squad

The Central Stags have named two uncapped Hawke's Bay players as first-class cricket returns to Palmerston North for the first time in 14 years.

Hawke’s Bay duo Will Clark and Todd Watson have got the nod for the Stags’ sixth-round Plunket Shield squad which will be played behind closed gates against Canterbury at Fitzherbert Park.

Watson, 24, and Clark, 20, are both Hastings-born right-handers and former New Zealand Under 19 representatives who have come up through the CD development pathway.

Central Districts High Performance Manager, Lance Hamilton says Will and Todd have featured for them in a lot of Central Districts A matches, as well as regularly impressing for Hawke’s Bay at interdistrict level.

“Will is a tall young all-rounder of promise who has been consistent for Hawke’s Bay with both bat and ball.

“He made a flying start to this season with a double century for Hawke’s Bay in the Furlong Cup while Todd is an aggressive medium pacer who has chalked up a number of good performances for Hawke’s Bay already in his relatively short career.

With many of their regular players unavailable, Hamilton says they will have at least one debutant this weekend against Canterbury, and it’s a great opportunity for several in their squad to experience and learn more about the requirements of the game at this level.

Regular captain Greg Hay returns to lead the team and make his 90th Plunket Shield appearance.

The 37-year-old veteran of more than 6000 first-class runs broke his thumb whilst batting at Pukekura Park during the Dream11 Super Smash campaign late last year — resulting in a frustrating interruption for surgery and recovery.

Hay got back in action for Central Districts A earlier this week and rejoins the Stags as the only member of the team to have featured the last time the team played a Plunket Shield match at Fitzherbert Park — against the Wellington Firebirds, in late March 2008.

Paceman Dudding last played in the Plunket Shield in the 2016/17 season while allrounder Leopard’s last Plunket Shield match was in April last season, also against Canterbury.

Both stand to make their fifth first-class appearance this weekend while seamer Ray Toole is poised to play his first first-class match on his home turf of Fitzherbert Park fresh off a maiden six-wicket bag in the Stags’ shock fourth-round loss to Northern Districts in Napier.

Toole’s performance was the bright spot of the match for the Stags, the 24-year-old’s Manawatu man’s match analysis of 9/87 not only his career best, but the best by any player nationally in the Plunket Shield championship this season.

The match will be live-scored and livestreamed from 10.30am tomorrow (Sunday) at cdcricket.co.nz

Central Stags Squad:

Greg Hay — Nelson — captain

Tom Bruce — Taranaki

Will Clark — Hawke’s Bay — potential first-class debut

Liam Dudding — Hawke’s Bay

Joey Field — Hawke’s Bay

Christian Leopard — Hawke’s Bay

Ajaz Patel — Hawke’s Bay

Brad Schmulian — Hawke’s Bay

Ben Smith — Whanganui

Ray Toole — Manawatu

Todd Watson — Hawke’s Bay — potential first-class debut

Bayley Wiggins — wicketkeeper — Hawke’s Bay

Coach — Rob Walter