It will be back to basics for South Canterbury and North Otago when they meet in the opening match of their Hawke Cup campaigns tomorrow.
Both coaches said they were keen to get runs on the board to apply pressure early.
The `green and blacks’ may be starting the season on home soil, but they will not be eased into the competition, as they take on the current Hawke Cup holders.
The cup holders will head to Aorangi Oval tomorrow to begin their defence of New Zealand provincial cricket’s greatest prize, with memories of their six-wicket defeat in a one-day warm-up match at the same ground a fortnight ago.
South Canterbury coach Richard Davidson said his side would be at full-strength for the match.
There was still no room for Celtic’s Matt Mealings or Andy Scott, while twelfth man Jacob Naylor will be released to play club cricket for Roncalli.
Davidson said the usually placid Aorangi Oval wicket “had a bit of green on it at both ends”, but he did not read much into it.
“It usually flattens out and becomes a really good track,” he said.
“Hopefully, the spinners will be able to come into their own late in the game.”
He singled out up-and-coming left-arm spinner Sam Carlaw and Timaru all-rounder Srinivas KS who could roll his arm over in some long spells.
“Sam Carlaw, he’s really the key, he could be bowling 20 to 30 overs.
“Also with Alex McKenzie coming in, he’ll make that middle-order stronger and give us another bowling option, while Srinivas KS will look to make an impression with his batting, and he’ll bowl a bit which he hasn’t done much of this season.”
In what seems a stable batting lineup, much will rest with the Celtic duo of Craig Davies and captain Dan Laming.
Davies’ 156 forced a draw in the corresponding match last year, while Laming has hit four half centuries in all forms of the game already this season, after an indifferent 2009-2010 effort.
South Canterbury have won their last three warm-up games, but will have memories of their own, thanks to a heavy first innings defeat to North Otago in the competition, last year.
Davidson said while being rolled for 117 in the first innings was still fresh in his memory, there were still positives. “I’d say we got spanked that day, but we did manage to bat for the whole second day to draw that game.”
North Otago coach Sean Eathorne said holding the Hawke Cup added “real intensity” to their season.
He said they will play a stronger side than the team two weeks ago, with experienced pace-man David Sewell likely to lead the attack.
Eathorne, who is likely to play an integral part in the middle order for the visitors, said South Canterbury looked strong across the park, but he was confident his team had the players to earn victory this weekend.
“It’ll be pretty simple, get the runs on the board, and look to put pressure on them from there.
“I think we’ve got the team which can hold on to (the Hawke Cup), and we’re hoping to have a good start.”
Play will start tomorrow at 10am.
South Canterbury team to play North Otago: Dan Laming (c), Sam Carlaw, Craig Davies, Craig Hinton, James Laming, Jeremy Liddy, Glenn Matthews, Alex McKenzie, Richard Preston, Srinivas KS, Kevin Teahen, Jacob Naylor (12th man).