Nelson can win but can't beat the weather gods

Nelson's zone 3 Hawke Cup challenge aspirations could hinge on West Coast's notorious weather as they prepare for this weekend's third round action in Westport.

Nelson are scheduled to play Buller on Buller High School's artificial wicket but with rain also forecast throughout the weekend, Nelson recognise the precariousness of their situation.

With outright victory against West Coast and first innings points against Marlborough safely in the bank, Nelson are already well on target to securing their second successive zone 3 challenge. Nelson are also aware of the significance of taking whatever points they can out of this weekend's contest to help alleviate any frustrations caused by bad weather.

Nelson selector Andrew Cavill is also a realist and acknowledges that the weather, particularly on the West Coast, is the one variable completely out of the team's control. But it also has the capacity to derail Nelson's hopes of a challenge.

"We've got to try to take that out of the equation and go [to Westport] with the mindset that we're going to be playing cricket," Cavill said.

"That's the first thing and Buller can be an awkward opponent at times. They've got some players there who can play a little bit, so we've just got to carry on the good work that we've been doing."

Cavill said that Nelson's wet weather had also affected this week's preparations but that, fortunately, Nelson had achieved some momentum prior to the Christmas break following solid performances against West Coast and Marlborough.

"Ideally, we do need to get something out of this game this weekend," he said.

"We've just got to keep going. Things have been going pretty well and everyone's fit to go. We've just got to keep the momentum going that we had before Christmas and we've just got to make sure we hit the ground running.

"All going well, we get a bit of a break with the weather and get out there and make the most of it."

Cavill's at least had the luxury of naming exactly the same team which enforced the follow-on against Marlborough in early December, with skipper B J Barnett, Greg Hay, Connor Neynens and Joe O'Connor still fresh from their Central Districts A commitments. Left arm spinner Marty Kain's Twenty20 commitments with the Stags have also ended.

Play is scheduled to start tomorrow at Buller High School at 10.30am.

NELSON: Marty Kain, Dan Cooper, Greg Hay, BJ Barnett (captain), Ryan Edwards, Connor Neynens, Ricky Edwards, Simon McGowan, Joe O'Connor, Darius Skeaping, Marty King.

BULLER (possible): Mike Thorpe, Craig Adams, Andrew Duncan, Jesse Elley, Troy Scanlon (captain), Frano Volckman, Glen Duncan, Matthew McManus, Mike Lee, Clinton Harvey, Mike Anderson, Troy Adams.

The Nelson Mail