A win against South Canterbury this weekend would put North Otago in the box seat for a Hawke Cup challenge.
But North Otago coach Pete Cartwright says the players are not getting “too far ahead of ourselves”.
“This weekend if we put a good performance out we will give ourselves a chance,” Cartwright said.
“We try not to talk about what is happening in the rest of the zone.
“When you represent your province they are all big games.”
Playing away from home, North Otago had claimed a first innings win against Otago Country and an outright win against Mid Canterbury, and Cartwright hoped home ground advantage at the Whitestone Contracting Stadium oval tomorrow would help the team’s chances.
“We have been batting and bowling on that block for the best part of a season and a-half for training,” he said.
“Hopefully the surroundings are pretty similar now.
“The pitch should play pretty well and be a fair contest for bat and ball,”
The key this weekend was, as always, to bat well in the first innings, he said.
“It’s just getting them in that mindset to build partnerships down there and not bat like tailenders.
“All our batters got starts against Mid Canterbury in the first innings. Everyone looked really good getting to 20 or 30 and found a way to get out.
“If you get in, try to bat as long as you can and stay in – that’s the whole plan.”
If Cameron Grubb repeats his most recent match figures of 11 for 83, North Otago will be halfway to victory.
“He bowls in the right areas and bowls pretty well to new batsmen, which is key,” Cartwright said.
“Once he hits that top-of-off length he is pretty handy.”
Having three genuine all-rounders in Stephan Grobler, Jeremy Smith and Harry Semple gave the team plenty of options, Cartwright said.
“The balance of the side is something we are quite happy with,” he said.
“It was a tough team to select as plenty of guys are in form.”
Play will begin at 10.30am tomorrow and on Sunday.
North Otago squad
The provisional squad to play South Canterbury is.-
Jeremiah Shields, Lachie Kingan, Duncan Drew, Llew Johnson, Jeremy Smith, Harry Semple, Tom Dempster, Stephen Grobler, Mason James, Cameron Grubb, Angus Philpott.