Wairau, Celtic eye final spot
Grove Tavern Wairau and Biddy Kates Celtic are playing for a spot in the Marlborough senior club cricket two-day championship title decider when they meet in the sixth and final round at Horton Park in Blenheim tomorrow.
Frontrunners Criterion Hotel Wairau Valley are already guaranteed of their final place and are odds-on favourites to qualify top as they face bottom side Guthrie Bowron Renwick on the No 1 ground at the same venue.
However, the race for the second berth in next weekend's final is still very much on. Defending champs Wairau hold second on 63 points, 10 ahead of Celtic, meaning the team who comes out on the positive side of the ledger on the No 2 ground is likely to join Valley in the battle for the silverware.
Wairau will field a very similar team to their T20 side that played last night, the only change seeing young wicketkeeper Tarin Mason come in for veteran spinner Greg Logan. Skipper Nick d'Auvergne said the points situation would not affect how they approach the match and felt they simply had to focus on winning.
Given his side were chasing Wairau, Celtic captain Ben McLennan had a slightly different view. With five more points available for a win batting first than a victory bowling first, he said they would most likely bat first if they get the choice. As for needing to be more aggressive, he felt his side already played a fairly attacking brand of cricket with bat and ball.
After making his return to Marlborough cricket in last night's T20, former Marlborough all-rounder Jerrym Lamb is unavailable for tomorrow's match. McLennan was hopeful rep all-rounder Josh Poole, who has been away with the Central Districts A side this week, would be back in time to play.
Valley can wrap up top qualifying spot for the final in the other match against Renwick. Rep all-rounder Matt McCormick is not available to Valley skipper Tim Abrahams, but Simon Muir provides an adequate replacement.
The only likely change in the Renwick side has young Piers Landon-Lane coming in for seamer Grant Herd, while young rep squad member Rikki Bovey takes over the captaincy reins from Mike Bown.
Both matches are scheduled for a 11.30am start.
The Marlborough Express