Change of pace for Hawke Cup team

The Nelson representative team will have a break from their two-day Hawke Cup campaign when they meet the MoleMap Masters in a Twenty20 contest at Saxton Oval on Sunday.

It's the first of five Choice Hotels Masters Series matches to be played this summer, a concept designed to promote cricket and inspire future generations to play the game.

Leading the MoleMap Masters in the opening match of the summer is former New Zealand and Central Districts player Mark Greatbatch, who is fresh from his victorious boxing bout in last Friday's Fight for Christchurch charity event.

"Many first class cricketers have emerged from provincial New Zealand and it's great that the Masters team are able to get into districts like Nelson to promote cricket to the next generation," Greatbatch said.

"We are looking forward to getting out on Saxton Oval for the junior coaching session on Sunday morning and it will be great to have plenty of support for the match in the afternoon."

The team also includes former New Zealand players, Nelson's Mark Douglas, Glen Sulzberger and Ewen Thompson and ex-Nelson and Central Districts players Dave Leonard, Craig Ingham, Andrew Schwass and Tim Anderson.

Last year, and masquerading as a New Zealand Cricket Players' Association Masters team, the visitors cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Nelson side.

The Masters easily reached their minimal 112-run target in just 13.2 overs when Greg Hay drove left-arm spinner Dan Wightman through extra cover to secure the victory.

Hay had been loaned to the Masters side for the festival match, organised to help celebrate the official opening of the new $3.8 million pavilion. However, Hay will be back in Nelson colours on Sunday, with Wakatu all-rounder Matt Macquet, offspinner Luke Toynbee and left arm spinner Dan Wightman the notable changes from Nelson's regular Hawke Cup lineup.

The second match of the Choice Hotels Masters series is against Otago Country at Molyneaux Park in Alexandra on Sunday, January 27, followed by Poverty Bay at Gisborne's Harry Barker Reserve on February 10.

The MoleMap Masters then head to Mountfort Park in Manurewa on February 24 for a game against Counties-Manukau, with the fifth and final match against Northern Maori on March 17, at Smallbone Park in Rotorua. This Sunday's match also kickstarts a busy summer representative programme for Central Districts at Saxton Oval which includes two HRV Cup Twenty20 clashes against Canterbury on January 1 and January 3, a Plunket Shield fixture against Northern Districts from February 20-23 and two Ford Trophy one-day matches against Northern Districts (February 26) and Canterbury (March 3).

Meanwhile, Sunday's action kicks off with a one-hour junior coaching session, starting at 11am, with the feature match scheduled to start at 1.30pm. There is a free sausage sizzle for the kids after the coaching session and admission to the game is free.

A feature of the series this summer is that MoleMap are offering a free spot check service to all players, families and spectators at each of the matches. Sunday's free checks are from 1pm to 3pm.

NELSON: BJ Barnett (captain), Ryan Edwards, Ricky Edwards, Greg Hay, Marty Kain, Marty King, Matt Macquet, Connor Neynens, Joe O'Connor, Luke Toynbee, Dan Wightman.

MOLEMAP MASTERS: Mark Greatbatch (captain), Tim Anderson, Geoff Barnett, Mark Douglas, Brent Hefford, Craig Ingham, David Leonard, Andrew Schwass, Martyn Sigley, Glen Sulzberger, Ewen Thompson.

The Nelson Mail