Strong Manawatu lineup for Cup

Manawatu is likely to have most of the squad that has dominated all summer when they challenge for the Hawke Cup next month.

After the weekend's draw with Taranaki, Manawatu finished as the zone two qualifiers for the Hawke Cup and play Bay of Plenty on February 8 to 10.

Manawatu coach Mike Mason wasn't sure on his exact lineup but will have nearly all of the squad that saw them record four outright wins and a draw this summer.

"I don't think we're going to worry too much to be honest, what will be, will be," he said. "I'm sure the other team will be a little bit short as well; all the first-class teams will be playing [at the same time]."

He said it doesn't matter who is available, as the guys have been doing a good job all season.

There is a round of Plunket Shield four-day matches that weekend, so there is unlikely to be any first-class players available for either team.

That means pace bowler Bevan Small will likely be away with CD, as will opening batsman Jamie How, but Bay of Plenty won't have any of their Northern Districts players.

There is also a Black Caps test match against India, so that rules out the remote possibility of batsman Ross Taylor playing and pace bowler Adam Milne is injured.

Still likely to be at Manawatu's disposal will be CD A players Roald Badenhorst, who was just included in the New Zealand XI to play India in a warmup match, Dane Cleaver, Tim Richards, Mitch Renwick and Dave Meiring.

In their challenge last year Manawatu led on first innings and were odds on to bring the cup home, but then lost outright on the third day by seven wickets.

Mason was keen to play them again after what he said was a great game last year.

Manawatu were hoping Bay of Plenty would put the game on at Mt Maunganui, instead of Rotorua, where they had a first-innings win over Hamilton yesterday.

In the other round five matches at the weekend, Wairarapa (183 and 285-5 declared) beat Horowhenua-Kapiti (172 and 37-3) on first innings and Hawke's Bay (456) beat Wanganui (121 and 158) outright by 177 runs.

Manawatu finished on 43 points, ahead of Hawke's Bay on 40, Taranaki on 30 Wairarapa 17, Horowhenua-Kapiti 9 and Wanganui 1.

Manawatu Standard