Wairau eye shot at second final

Grove Tavern Wairau are already in one senior final and tomorrow night they can put one foot in the door of another when they take on Biddy Kates Celtic in round three of the Mitre 10 Mega Marlborough Twenty20 competition at Horton Park.

Following the cancellation of last Friday's round two matches because of rain, both Wairau and Guthrie Bowron Renwick have six points. Courtesy of net run-rate, though, Wairau sit on top and a win against Celtic on the No 1 ground would keep them on top with just three rounds remaining.

Wily left-arm spinner Greg Logan is the only major non-inclusion in Wairau's side. Marlborough skipper Nick d'Auvergne comes in for his first T20 match of the season, while Leon MacDonald and Dan Neilson will be playing their first games of the season and add strength in both departments.

It has been a tough season for Celtic and with this being their last match before the Christmas-New Year break, they will be hopeful of getting a win and going into next year with some optimism. They are expected to be largely unchanged and if their four fit senior rep squad members - Ben McLennan, Greg Knowles, Josh Poole, Sean Neal and Ben Blackman - turn out, they are every chance of knocking over Wairau. Top-order batsman Chris Gibb is out with an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, Criterion Hotel Wairau Valley are up against Renwick in the other match on the No 2 ground and, after defeating Celtic in round one, Renwick will be hopeful of maintaining that momentum.

Their lineup is expected to be unchanged from the one that overcame Celtic. For Valley, rep batsman Greg Stretch, young left-arm seamer Leo Adendorff and English all-rounder Grant Goodwin are unavailable from the 11 that narrowly went down to Wairau in round one. Captain Tim Abrahams is back for his first T20 this season, while handy all-rounder Simon Muir and Terry Sloan are the other inclusions.

Both games are scheduled for a 5.15pm start.

The Marlborough Express