Manager confident side can deliver

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North Otago’s Hawke Cup manager Hamish McMurdo is confident the side can produce the form required to gain a Hawke Cup Challenge next year.

The campaign towards another shot at winning the Hawke Cup for the first time since 2010, starts this weekend with a warm up match against Mid Canterbury in Ashburton.

A fortnight ago a 16 man squad was named to prepare for the upcoming Hawke Cup season, and McMurdo is very happy with the squad.

“We have plenty of competition for places now which is awesome, it’s something we didn’t have a lot of last year, but this year we have that element and it will get the best out of everyone.”

Players like Llewellyn Johnson, Brady Kingan, Regan George and Brayden Lindsay are all new to the squad, but they will provide plenty of competition.

“Brayden comes with a bit of a reputation, and is great for the squad because he’s putting pressure on Chris and Matt for the new ball, which exactly what we’re after, while Llewellyn and Brady are part of the Otago u17’s squad.”

McMurdo expects players like Jeremy and Nathan Smith to be a step up on last year with them now more comfortable with the level of cricket.

“Jeremy and Nathan were in the squad last year and I know that they will be better of this season as they know what to expect.”

Balance to any squad is crucial and McMurdo feels that’s exactly what this year’s squad has.

“We have a good balanced team and we feel we can do well.”

The side is hoping to improve on their performances last year and give Southland , who won the right to a challenge last year, a stern challenge.

“Our aim is to apply ourselves longer at the wicket and hopefully get first innings runs, cause that was our problem last year and we know we can bowl a side out ok, that’s not an issue.”

McMurdo is hoping for more performances with the bat like the effort last year against Otago Country.

“Ben Cant scored plenty of runs that day, and was well supported by Sean Conlan and Nathan Smith, so hopefully more of that happens this year.”

The Hawke Cup calendar kicks off on December 13-14 with Otago Country coming to town.

PHOTO: Hamish McMurdo.