Tough task ahead of Whitaker Civil Taranaki men in Napier
Two players will make their debuts for the Whitaker Civil Taranaki men’s team this week as an inexperienced side heads to Napier to take on Hawkes Bay.
With a number of players unavailable or injured this week, Inglewood fast bowler Richard Clough and all-rounder Vatsal Gajjar are set to represent Taranaki for the first time. Gajjar in particular comes in off an impressive one-day club season to date with Inglewood, while Clough has been close to the top side in recent years, and played at Furlong Cup level as a loan player for Whanganui last season.
Missing from the team that picked up a first innings win over Wairarapa in round one are first choice quicks Ben Frewin and Shay Smith, keeper Jarred Cunningham and batter Sam Fastier.
It makes the task of knocking over the newly minted Hawke Cup holders at home that much tougher, but the side will still be hopeful of putting up a strong fight.
Returning to the side for the first time this year are batters Josh Borrell and Bailey Wisnewski, the latter coming in off a very successful off-season playing in the UK.
Meanwhile, the experience of players such as captain Dean Robinson, and all-rounders Mattie Thomas and Liam Muggeridge will be crucially important to the sides hopes.
Taranaki currently sits second on the Furlong Cup Points table, equal on 13 points with Manawatu who also picked up a first innings win over Whanganui in their first-round match. Hawkes Bay leads on 15 points after a round one outright win over Horowhenua-Kapiti.
Hawkes Bay also picked up the coveted Hawke Cup off Canterbury Country last weekend and that means, if they can hang onto it, that whoever finishes second in the Furlong Cup will get a Hawke Cup challenge in January next year.
Full competition details including points table, match details and livescoring can be found here at PlayHQ