Big-hitting Temuka batsman Richie Preston is the only change to the South Canterbury cricket team for its final 50-over pre-season match against North Otago, in Oamaru tomorrow.
Preston will take the wicket-keeping duties from Johnny Geddis, who is unavailable, and is the only change from the side named to play Christchurch Metropolitan a week ago in a match that was abandoned due to wet weather.
South Canterbury coach Robin Beeby said he was desperate to see his players perform so he and selector John Davies could get the balance of the side right for when the two teams meet in the Hawke Cup proper on December 8 and 9.
Beeby said the last fortnight had been "incredibly frustrating", especially on the batsmen who have been starved of precious time at the crease in club and representative cricket.
Preston's inclusion is a clear indication he will be part of the first Hawke Cup team.
The Christchurch-based batsman's reputation as a fast scorer at the top of the innings will probably be enough to see him make the team, with Beeby suggesting his improved dedication to club cricket for Temuka was a key step towards his selection
"It's all about finding the right balance," Beeby said of the match.
Indian batsman Srinivas KS and English pace bowler Matt Woods will use the match to see which one of them deserves to be South Canterbury's overseas player, while Timaru team-mates Zane Sanders and Sam Porter are two batsmen on the fringes of Hawke Cup selection and will need a strong showing to force their way in.
The team will be captained by spinner Sam Carlaw.
South Canterbury: Sam Carlaw (c), Richie Preston, Craig Davies, James Laming, Nick Horsley, Srinivas KS, Zane Sanders, Sam Porter, Craig Hinton, Ben Watson, Matt Woods.
- The Timaru Herald