Rain secures Hawke Cup berth

AARON GOLIE
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2013

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The wet midweek weather has been a blessing for the Hamilton rep side.

This weekend's two-day Fergus Hickey Rosebowl match against Northland, at Galloway Park, has been shortened to a one-day fixture because of a wet pitch.

That means that the maximum points on offer are now four for a win, rather than six.

Northland needed six from an outright victory in order to jump ahead of Hamilton and secure the Northern Districts Hawke Cup qualifying spot for the challenge against holders Bay of Plenty in late January, with that challenger spot decided over the calendar year.

With Hamilton now confirmed as challengers, the teams will now be focused on Fergus Hickey points, with that silverware being played for across the full  season.

With the ground being a public park, the pitches at Galloway Park are generally not able to covered during the week.

Hamilton Cricket general manager Rupert Hodgson said there was an effort made to get covers put on on Wednesday evening, however the rain hit earlier than expected.

With more rain in the past two days, the pitch was deemed unfit for play today, so the best the teams can hope for is a one-day match tomorrow.

If the pitch isn't up to standard tomorrow, but conditions are OK for play, the match will be shifted to an artificial pitch at Hamilton Boys' High School.

The Hamilton team has three changes to the one which took first innings points against Counties Manukau a fortnight ago.

Anurag Verma, Nikhil Vishwanath and Anish Desai come in for Jimmy Baker, Hayden Cargo and Sean McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Waikato Valley travel to Gisborne to take on Poverty Bay in their Fergus Hickey clash this weekend.

The visitors' side includes 16-year-old Hamilton Boys' High School student Mattie Clarke and sees Jason Morgan take over as coach, with Mark Coles standing down because of a family illness.

■ Today's round of Hamilton club cricket has also been called off due to rain.

It was to be the third and fourth rounds of the Richard Dodunski Trophy Twenty20 competition.

That leaves the unbeaten Ricoh Old Boys and The Riv Marist-Suburbs in the box seat heading into the last round on February 15, with the final to be played that afternoon.

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