All or nothing for T20 champions
Defending champions Grove Tavern Wairau face a must-win situation against front-runners Biddy Kates Celtic ahead of their sixth and final round match in Marlborough senior cricket's Mitre 10 Mega Twenty20 competition at Horton Park tomorrow night.
Wairau sit second on the ladder on 10 points, four points adrift of Celtic, who have already booked their spot in the February 8 final.
However, third-placed Guthrie Bowron Renwick also have 10 points, and Criterion Hotel Wairau Valley (6) are not out of contention yet either.
Those two sides are set to meet on the No 3 ground and, regardless of who wins, if Wairau lose against Celtic on the No 1 field, the defending champions will miss out. A Renwick victory would see them beat Wairau on points, while a Valley triumph would help them sneak through to the final via a superior net run rate.
After not having their representative players available for the round five matches last Friday, Wairau, Celtic and Valley are back to full strength tomorrow.
Wairau regain the services of batsmen Colin Wood and Fraser McIntosh, along with spinner Nick d'Auvergne and all-rounder Ben Stark. Cleighten Cornelius and Chris Goodman are the players who drop out.
All five of Celtic's rep players - batsmen Josh Poole, Chris Gibb and Sean Neal, opening bowler Ben McLennan and all-rounder Greg Knowles - are expected to turn out. They were unable to confirm last night which players would miss out from last week.
Skipper Tim Abrahams, Greg and Matthew Stretch and Sam Boyce return from rep duties for Valley, while Richard Franklin also comes in. Simon Muir, Chris McMurtrie, Rohan Prasad, Michael Dillon and Ethan Gleeson are the players to make way.
Renwick have just one change to their side, bowler Ben Weaver coming in for young all-rounder Braden Stewart.
Celtic beat Wairau by 48 runs back in round three, with both sides almost at full strength. But, with Wairau in a must-win situation and Celtic already through, a reversal of that result is far from out of the question.
Renwick overcame a Valley side without Greg Stretch and Boyce by five wickets in round three. However, Renwick have suffered two big losses since that win and will need to bounce back strongly.
- The Marlborough Express