Teams in hunt for semi spots

CLAY WILSON
Last updated 14:08 15/02/2013

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Grove Tavern Wairau and Criterion Hotel Wairau Valley are the first Marlborough senior club cricket teams to venture over the Whangamoas this season and they need wins tomorrow to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Both have played two of their four Kelvin Scoble Trophy combined one-day competition round-robin matches and, with each recording a win and a loss so far, a second win in tomorrow's round three encounters is crucial to keep them in semifinal contention.

Wairau, who sit third in pool two behind ACOB and Stoke/Nayland, are being hosted by Wakatu at Victory Square in Nelson.

There are several changes to the Wairau 11, most notably former Canadian international and all-rounder Geoff Barnett coming in for his first game of the season. Joining Barnett is premier tennis player Hamish Morrow, who has played a handful of senior cricket matches over the years, and youngster Harrison Boyce. Those three players replace Leon MacDonald, Fraser McIntosh and Ma'ara Ave.

For Valley, they have a slightly longer trip to Motueka for their match at Memorial Park.

Blake Parata, Rohan Prasad and Michael Dillon have all left town for the start of the university year, while Matt McCormick and Duncan Grigg are unavailable. All-rounder Chris McMurtrie and Simon Muir come back into the Valley side, while Ethan Gleeson and Steve Boyce step up from second grade.

Biddy Kates Celtic and Guthrie Bowron Renwick both have the bye for the KST competition, meaning they will square off in round two of the Marlborough one-day competition on Horton Park No 1.

Fresh off winning the T20 title last week, Celtic are in a similar situation to Valley, with several players returning to university. All-rounder Greg Knowles and the Neal brothers, Sean and Landon, are in that category. After playing three T20 matches, Greg Hegglun drops out, replaced by his fellow former Central Districts seamer Brent Hefford. Elliot Robinson, Patrick Crannitch and Grant Dunn all come up from second grade to fill the other voids.

Renwick are at full-strength tomorrow, with promising batsman/left-arm spinner Rikki Bovey returning to the fold. Former Marlborough spinner Ed Gilhooly is again in the side, as is their new wicketkeeper/batsman Adeel Shafiq.

In other KST matches tomorrow, ACOB host Stoke/Nayland at the Botanics ground and WTTU face Wanderers at Jubilee Park in Richmond. All matches are scheduled for an 11am start.

The second grade T20 competition final between Renwick and Picton is set to start at 5.15pm today on Horton Park No 1.

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- The Marlborough Express

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