Promising Walsh gets chance with Wellington

SURPRISE ADDITION: Henry Walsh has been rewarded with a Cricket Wellington contract.
SURPRISE ADDITION: Henry Walsh has been rewarded with a Cricket Wellington contract.

Last year's New Zealand under-19 batsman Henry Walsh is the notable addition to Cricket Wellington's contract list, to be announced tomorrow.

The former St Pat's Silverstream star and prolific run-scorer for the Taita club last season has been ranked No 13, with one more player to be added to make up the 14 to be contracted for the 2013-14 season.

The Dominion Post has been provided with Wellington's top 13, in ranking order. Features of the list see opening batsman Michael Papps securing No 2, behind James Franklin and in front of Luke Ronchi and Mark Gillespie, whilst new bowling coach Brent Arnel comes in at No 6 ahead of fellow internationals Luke Woodcock and Andy McKay.

Walsh, 19, has long been tipped as a young player to watch and was rewarded for solid club form where he scored 738 runs in his second season for Taita.

The right-handed batsman, who also bowls occasional left-arm medium pace, was a solid contributor at the under-19 World Cup in Queensland last August before being ruled out of the knockout phase with an ankle injury.

Walsh marked his farewell for St Pat's Silverstream in October 2011 with a knock of 225 off 245 balls in the traditional interschool fixture with St Bede's College in Christchurch.

Coach Jamie Siddons had another tough task to rank his players. As they did last year, Wellington had just one inclusion in New Zealand Cricket's top-20, Grant Elliott, leaving nine internationals to put in ranking order. Jesse Ryder was offered No 5 before signing with Otago.

Franklin was an obvious No 1, and Papps was rewarded for a prolific last summer to move ahead of New Zealand tourists to England, Ronchi and Gillespie. Off-spinner Jeetan Patel, once again showing a new lease of life in England with 15 wickets from his last two county matches for Warwickshire, moved up to No 5 in Ryder's absence.

The departures of Harry Boam (taking a year off), Scott Kuggeleijn (Northern Districts) and Tipene Friday (Auckland) - all contracted last year - cleared space in the lower reaches where paceman Ili Tugaga, batsman Michael Pollard and Walsh all snuck in.

Contenders for the 14th and final spot include wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell, pacemen Dane Hutchinson and Iain McPeake and all-rounder Barry Rhodes.

Each major association can announce between nine and 13 contracts in the first round, and players have a week to accept or decline. The second round is on August 9 when the balance of the 14 contracted players are named.

Players are contracted from October 1 till March 31 and receive six-monthly retainers ranging from $38,000 for No 1 to $19,750 for No 14. Match fees are $1495 for a first-class game, $720 for a one-dayer and $470 for a T20.

Cricket Wellington's first round contract list:

1. James Franklin

2. Michael Papps

3. Luke Ronchi

4. Mark Gillespie

5. Jeetan Patel

6. Brent Arnel

7. Luke Woodcock

8. Andy McKay

9. Stephen Murdoch

10. Josh Brodie

11. Ili Tugaga

12. Michael Pollard

13. Henry Walsh

One to be added

The Dominion Post