Veterans in to bolster champions at start
Hamilton will be boosted by a couple of old heads when the Brian Dunning Cup one-day competition starts in Taupo tomorrow.
Although there is a youthful look to the squad, the joint defending champions (with Counties-Manukau) will call on Northern Knights limited overs player Bradley Scott, as well as former Knight Jaden Hatwell for the first three games of the competition.
Scott, 33, a left-arm seamer and handy batsman, is not required for Northern Districts' four-day Plunket Shield side, while Hatwell is returning to rep cricket after an extended time playing in England.
Hatwell, 34, came back to New Zealand last season and had a break from playing, but has been in fine form for Fraser-Tech in the Hamilton club competition.
"It's awesome having him back," coach Nathan Daley said of the right-handed batsman and part-time off-spinner.
"He's enjoying it and made himself available, which is good for us, because the team's pretty young."
Daley said having Scott around the team would be invaluable too, with the younger players able to learn from the duo's experience.
Apart from the injured Sam McLeod, Hamilton have been able to call on a strong side, though they have lost a trio of pace bowlers, with Adam Flegg moving to Counties, Anurag Verma to Waikato Valley and Andrew Mathieson to Central Districts.
"We'll have to call on our depth that we've always wanted to do," Daley said. "But it'll be good for some of those younger guys to play the entire season if they perform."
Meanwhile, in the Waikato Valley side there are two new caps in Verma and Jon Wiggans.
Wiggans is an Englishman who batted No 3 for Waikato Valley B in their win over Counties last Sunday, and Verma, 22, replaces Daryl Mitchell as the association's marquee player for the season.
Verma is a medium-fast bowler who will bat in the middle order.
One youngster who has already shown plenty of potential is 17-year-old wicketkeeper Tim Seifert, who will be mixing cricket with his NCEA exams at St Peter's School.
A number of players have returned after extended breaks.
Fraser Kilgour has been playing Hamilton club cricket and Ross Laidlaw has been playing in England.
Cambridge batsman Chris Sclater (26) has been recalled to the team after a six-year absence.
Players not considered for selection include Jason Martin (Otorohanga), Sam Cooper (Morrinsville), Andrew Tiddy (Hinuera), and Brendan Revell (Te Aroha).
One of the strongest sides appears to be Northland, who will field both former ND brothers Michael and Neal Parlane (aged 40 and 34 respectively) as well as former Wellington all-rounder Dewayne Bowden.
AT A GLANCE
Hamilton: Keir Bettley (c), Michael Dodunski, Andrew Dodd, Mitchell Santner, Peter Bocock, Bradley Scott, Josef Walker, Cameron Weight, Ross Fitz-John, Jaden Hatwell, Owen Ivins, Ben Speake.
Waikato Valley: Leighton Parsons (c), Keith Vincent, Calvin Hewitt, Fraser Kilgour, Ross Laidlaw, Scott Major, Mark O'Shaughnessy, Jeremy Rout, Chris Sclater, Tim Seifert, Anurag Verma, Jon Wiggans
Brian Dunning Cup fixtures:
Tomorrow at Owen Delany Park, Taupo: Hamilton v Counties-Manukau, Bay of Plenty v Northland, Poverty Bay v Waikato Valley
November 12 at Owen Delany Park, Taupo: Poverty Bay v Counties-Manukau, Bay of Plenty v Hamilton, Northland v Waikato Valley
November 13 at Owen Delany Park, Taupo: Poverty Bay v Northland, Bay of Plenty v Counties-Manukau, Hamilton v Waikato Valley
January 13 Poverty Bay v Hamilton, Harry Barker Reserve, Gisborne; Waikato Valley v Bay of Plenty, Cambridge Square; Northland v Counties-Manukau, Cobham Oval, Whangarei
February 3 Bay of Plenty v Poverty Bay, Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui; Hamilton v Northland, Galloway Park, Hamilton; Counties-Manukau v Waikato Valley, Weymouth Oval, Manurewa