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Today brings another challenge for North Otago – not a defence.

That is the mindset of the region’s Hawke Cup side as it takes on Hawke’s Bay in a three-day match for the cup.

North Otago beat Nelson by 250 runs a fortnight ago to bring home the Hawke Cup for the third time in 11 years.

If North Otago beats Hawke’s Bay this weekend, it would be the first time the region has successfully defended the Hawke Cup.

However, coach Pete Cartwright said the side was going in with a challenge-like mentality.

“We’re approaching it as another challenge – go out and have another crack at trying to get it. It’s another chance to go out there and put a good performance on,” he said.

There was only one change to the team that travelled to Nelson, Nick Johnston coming in for Nathan Smith, who had Otago Volts duties.

Hawke’s Bay was a strong team on paper, and the last time the team travelled to Oamaru for a Hawke Cup challenge in 2016, it returned home with the trophy.

“They’re probably coming here as hot favourites, I guess, challenging for the cup. They’ve got some good players, but we’ve focused on what we’re doing.”

It was an all-round team performance in Nelson, with everyone chipping in through each innings.

“Hopefully, some of the guys who got 40s and 50s kick on and get the big scores. [We will be] trying to get into the fight and have the opposition under pressure at some stage [this weekend].

“This is our fifth Hawke Cup game this season. The whole campaign, different guys have stepped up at different times. If we can all step up at the time time, we’ll be quite a handy outfit.”

A good bunch of supporters travelled to Nelson to support the team, and it was hoped there would be good turn out in Oamaru for the next three days.

The three-day challenge starts today at Whitestone Contracting Centennial Park.

North Otago team to play Hawke’s Bay:

Lachlan Kingan (c), Jeremiah Shields, Stephan Grobler, Cameron Grubb, Blake James, Jeremy Smith, Nick Johnston, Llew Johnson, Scott Kitto, Ben Donkers, Tom Dempster.