Inglewood have been given a bonus ahead of the final round of Taranaki premier grade one-day cricket matches today.
Inglewood had been sitting in second spot after last weekend's round, but were found to have been denied a bonus point for their win against Woodleigh in a rain-shortened first-round match.
The extra point means Inglewood now share the competition lead on 19 points with New Plymouth Marist United, although United are slightly ahead on the net run rate/per wicket calculation.
Four other teams are still in the hunt for playoff spots - with Woodleigh (16), Francis Douglas Memorial College (15), New Plymouth Old Boys (13) and Hawera United (11) all searching for wins today to claim a place.
The rep players return today, except for William Young (Old Boys) and Dean Robinson (Marist United) who are in Gisborne with Central Districts for their Plunket Shield match against Northern Knights, which starts today. Robinson is not in the 12 named, but travelled as cover for CD captain Kieran Noema-Barnett who has a slight groin strain.
Old Boys allrounder James McDougall was yesterday in doubt after suffering a suspected broken finger while batting in the Taranaki v Manawatu game last weekend.
For Old Boys to claim a place in the semifinals they must beat Francis Douglas today at New Plymouth's Western Park. A win by the school side will also be enough to retain a top four spot.
Old Boys will benefit from the return of Jamie Watkins and Jackson Braddock-Pago, while Francis Douglas will welcome back former Black Cap and teacher Peter Ingram.
Stratford have given up home advantage in their match against Marist United. The game has been relocated to New Plymouth's Lynmouth Park because Stratford's grass wicket is unavailable.
Marist United are favourites to win and cement a home semifinal.
After their hiccup against Boys' High in round five, Woodleigh got their campaign back on track with a comfortable victory over Stratford last Saturday.
Today, Woodleigh host Hawera United at New Plymouth's Sutherland Park, with the home side looking to secure a semifinal spot.
Hawera require a bonus point victory and need other results to go their way to sneak in.
In the remaining match of the round, Inglewood have the home advantage against New Plymouth Boys' High School at Karo Park.
Boys' High are unable to reach the playoffs but have upset a couple of higher-ranked teams this season and are more than capable of denying Inglewood a home semifinal.
The top two teams will have home advantage for the ‘1 v 4' and ‘2 v 3' semifinals.
The final is at Pukekura Park on December 9.
Points and net run rate per wicket of teams able to make the playoffs: NPMU 19pts +10.59, Inglewood 19 +8.31, Woodleigh 16 +4.32, FDMC 15 -7.43, NPOB 13 -3.59, Hawera 11 -0.94.
- Taranaki Daily News
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