Chapple Cup quest will hit the ground running
Nelson's representative one-day cricket team heads to Napier tomorrow with the Chapple Cup in its sights.
Nelson play Horowhenua-Kapiti in tomorrow's opening round, with the result of that fixture determining who they play over the remaining two days.
For Nelson captain BJ Barnett, it's Nelson's first opportunity to build on last year's successful season and to provide some continuity heading into this year's representative campaign.
"I think we're shaping up quite well," he said.
"We have a good balance to the side and I think after last year we have more experienced guys within the mix that, through our trainings, has really paid off and really showed how much we've come together."
Selector Andrew Cavill has predictably retained the bulk of last year's side, minus wicketkeeper-batsman Mitchell Drummond who has other commitments.
And, as skipper, Barnett's appreciated the consistency of selection.
"It's quite good that we're able to keep the same side and keep that consistency, because as a team, we're able to gel a lot better and form these combinations and guys know now how we all operate to obviously get the best out of each other."
Barnett's less appreciative of Nelson having to travel north tomorrow morning, leaving them limited time to prepare for their clash with Horowhenua-Kapiti.
"Ideally we would have liked to travel up the night before, and having to prepare ourselves 45 minutes before a game after travel, that's going to be quite hard [and something] that we've got to take into consideration as well.
"But in terms of what we need to do, we're going to approach it like any other game.
"We're really confident as a side this year that if we show up and really fulfil our roles and dominate, then we're going to be in a good position throughout the whole tournament." Coach Cavill has also been pleased with the preparation, involving a four-wicket, 50-overs win by Town over Country at the weekend.
"The guys have put the work in over preseason and obviously have had limited time outdoors, but we got a useful Town versus Country game in last Sunday at the [Marsden] Rec. That was primarily to get the guys some cricket."
Nelson: BJ Barnett (captain), Dan Cooper, Marty Kain, Greg Hay, Ricky Edwards, Connor Neynens, Matt Macquet, Luke Toynbee, Dan Wightman, Joe O'Connor, Darius Skeaping, Marty King, Dylan Eginton.
Round two of the Nelson two-day club competition starts tomorrow, with several teams obviously affected by representative commitments.
Car Company Stoke-Nayland will be without the bulk of their seam bowling attack for their match against Taylor's Contracting Wanderers at Brightwater, while Wanderers also losing Dan Cooper, Connor Neynens and Joe O'Connor to Nelson's Chapple Cup side.
Harrington's Beer Cafe WTTU face Sprig and Fern Tavern Motueka at Ben Cooper Park in Richmond without batsmen Greg Hay and Ricky Edwards and left arm spinner Dan Wightman, while at Ngawhatu Park on the Stoke foothills, ACOB are without allrounders BJ Barnett, Marty Kain and Luke Toynbee for their match against Wakatu.
Stoke-Nayland and WTTU share the lead after one round on 11 points, with Wakatu on 6, Motueka 3 and ACOB and Wanderers 2 each.
The Nelson Mail