North Otago’s Hawke Cup challenge gets under way with a game against Otago Country in Alexandra this weekend.
After that, North Otago has to wait until January 18 for its next challenge, which suits North Otago coach Pete Cartwright.
“It’s not a bad prep as far as getting ready for this game, because we’ve only got one before Christmas to knuckle down and get ready for,” Cartwright said.
The home side had a narrow loss in a low-scoring warm-up game against South Canterbury, before a game against Mid-Canterbury was cancelled last month.
“I was quite happy with how it went. We bowled and fielded quite well.
“It was a bit disappointing not to play the second one, to be honest. I would have quite liked to have a look at a few other players.”
Fast bowler Francois Mostert is not returning this season, but Cartwright said North Otago still had a good mix of youth and experience.
“[I’m] pretty happy with the squad.
“Other guys will get opportunities and are good enough to go well.”
The team’s strength was in its all-rounders, he said.
“We have Jeremy Smith back [and] Stephan Grobler is available. He didn’t play any Hawke Cup last year and is very handy at that level.”
Mason James and Tom Dempster have been named in the Otago under-19 team so are unavailable for the first game, but Llew Johnson is out of age-group cricket so should be available for the season, which would provide a boost for the team’s batting.
North Otago squad to play Otago Country
Jeremiah Shields (c), Ben Mavor, Cameron Grubb, Duncan Drew, Jeremy Smith, Llew Johnson, Harry Semple, Angus Philpott, Lachlan Kingan, Stephan Grobler, Scott Kitto, Blake James.
Hawke Cup – North Otago’s Draw
December 7-8, Otago Country, Alexandra
January 18-19, Mid Canterbury, Timaru
February 1-2, South Canterbury, Oamaru
February 15-16, Southland, Oamaru