• Uncapped Matt Rowe called up for Central Stags

Uncapped Matt Rowe called up for Central Stags

New Zealand Under 19 World Cup representative Matt Rowe has earned his first call-up for the Central Stags.

The tall young Palmerston North paceman is the only new face in the Plunket Shield squad named for the final first-class match of the season, beginning tomorrow morning at Napier’s McLean Park against the Otago Volts.

A first cousin of WHITE FERNS and Central Hinds star Hannah Rowe, the 18-year-old comes into the 12-strong squad for allrounder Doug Bracewell who sits out the final four-dayer after experiencing discomfort in his knee during the penultimate round last week.

With contracted Stags pacemen Brett Randell, Ray Toole and Joey Field all also having been ruled out by injury at various stages during this season, Central Districts High Performance Manager said it was consoling to have an opportunity to bring in a talented young player for his first taste of the Domestic and first-class cricket environment.

“Everyone who watched Matt performing at the ICC Under 19 World Cup in South Africa earlier this summer will have seen the swing that he was able to generate in that tournament,” said Meiring.


“For Central Districts, he’s been one of our standout pathway talents over recent seasons, having represented Central Districts Under 17, Under 19 and CD A Men’s teams.”

“Whether he is swinging or seaming the ball, or with the bat in his hand, he is capable of doing a job for his team.”

Rowe took eight wickets in four matches for New Zealand under 19 in South Africa, including a bag of 5/21 in a Player of the Match performance against Afghanistan U19 in East London.

They were the third best figures in New Zealand U19 history, having been bettered only by a couple of kids named Southee and Boult, at previous editions of the World Cup.

New Zealand U19 went on to win the thriller by just one wicket, Rowe hitting the winning runs.

Rowe also made a name for himself in March last year at the annual Super Eight secondary schools cricket tournament by taking six wickets in six balls for Palmerston North Boys’ High against Rotorua Boys’ High, on an artificial pitch in Tauranga. The right-armer from a small rural community in Manawatū finished with figures of 6-1-12-9.

He has also already represented Manawatū at senior men’s level, following in the footsteps of his other cousins, Cameron and Braden Rowe.

The Stags head into their last game of 2023/24 having packaged up the Plunket Shield and sent it off to Hamilton where either Northern Districts or the Wellington Firebirds will get to lift this year’s title over the coming days at Seddon Park.

Despite getting into winning positions three times in recent weeks — and posting the fourth highest total in the team’s 73-year history, 572/9 against the Firebirds in Palmerston North —  the Stags have enjoyed just two wins from this season’s campaign so far.


Both were before Christmas: an innings victory in Auckland at the start of the season, and a 50-run win in Dunedin against the same team they will be hosting at Mclean Park over the next four days, the Volts.

Last week’s shock loss to the Aces — who hadn’t won a game in this format all summer, spelt the end of the Stags’ hopes of retaining their national title.

Wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver became the Stags’ new all-time first-class dismissals record holder during the game, breaking the mark of 232 that had been set by his predecessor Bevan Griggs.

Captain Greg Hay meanwhile chalked up his 7,000th first-class run (including runs from New Zealand A games), and now needs just 37 to become only the second player, after Mathew Sinclair, to reach 7,000 first-class runs for the Stags alone.

Fellow batters Tom Bruce and Will Young are also approaching a career milestone, Bruce needing just a further nine runs and Young 182 runs to chalk up 5,000 first-class runs for the Stags.

The toss is scheduled for 10am tomorrow morning, the first ball at 10.30am, with free admission at McLean Park, and livescores and a free livestream at www.cdcricket.co.nz.

Photo by Margot Butcher