The six squads have been named for the opening round of Ford Trophy, all set to be slugged out in Auckland, Dunedin and Rangiora this Sunday.
The return of top order hard hitter Daniel Flynn is a big bonus for Northern Districts — Dean Brownlie (below) will continue as white ball captain; while the Wellington Firebirds welcome back impressive Englishman Scott Borthwick and the Aces introduce new names to their ever expanding talent pool.
Back on the edge of the England squad after having played a handful of internationals and one Test for England as a youngster a few years back, allrounder Scott Borthwick’s County stocks went up after a solid season with the Birds last summer, and he will be staying on again for some Plunket Shield later in the summer.
Flynn’s full return from a hip tear — the latest in a succession of hip probs — will meanwhile be welcomed by ND, a top order already without injured Anton Devcich for the campaign and now with injuries to Bharat Popli, Tim Seifert, Tony Goodin, Jimmy Baker and Henry Cooper while Joe Walker is recovering from illness.
That means Peter Bocock gets a call-up to don the gloves and left-arm spinner Freddy Walker will also be on List A debut if selected.The Knights are away to the Aces for round one who have brought up new quick bowlers Danru Ferns and Raja Sandhu, meaning several List A debuts are on the cards at Eden Park Outer Oval with Ben Horne and Sean Solia also yet to play 50 overs for the Aces.
There are few surprises in the defending champions the Central Stags that will take on Canterbury in Rangiora, BLACKCAPS Tom Bruce and Ben Wheeler returning to domestic action and the only worry appearing to be the depth of the pace bowling stocks — Doug Bracewell now booked in for season-ending knee surgery, and Bevan Small and Andrew Mathieson also out.
The Stags have brought Navin Patel into their Ford Trophy squad and he will be on white ball debut should he get a run; but a big bonus has been the emergence of Blair Tickner who stood up as one of the most exciting performers with the ball in his debut season of McDonald’s Super Smash.
Canterbury is meanwhile missing a notable name from their attack in left-armer Ed Nuttall, out for some time with a shoulder injury, while young Jack Boyle is now looking to make his List A debut after a promising shock first-class call-up earlier in the season.
In Dunedin Hamish Rutherford will continue leading the side in white ball and has a new man in camp in the form of batsman Gregor Croudis, promoted from the A side, while for Firebirds captain Hamish Marshall it will be his List A Firebirds debut, although with a long career behind him in ND’s colours.
Canterbury v Central Stags at Mainpower Oval, Rangiora — tickets at the gate (cash sales only)
Andrew Ellis (c), Jack Boyle, Chad Bowes, Henry Shipley, Peter Fulton, Cam Fletcher, Todd Astle, Tim Johnston, Logan van Beek, Matt Henry, Cole McConchie, Kyle Jamieson
Will Young (c), George Worker, Ben Smith, Jesse Ryder, Tom Bruce, Dane Cleaver, Josh Clarkson, Ben Wheeler, Marty Kain, Seth Rance, Blair Tickner, Navin Patel
Auckland Aces v Northern Districts at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland — entry by gold coin donation to Ronald McDonald House
Rob Nicol (c), Michael Barry, Lockie Ferguson, Danru Ferns, Donovan Grobbelaar, Michael Guptill-Bunce, Shawn Hicks, Ben Horne, Tarun Nethula, Glenn Phillips, Raja Sandhu, Sean Solia
Dean Brownlie (c), Daniel Flynn, Peter Bocock, Joe Carter, Daryl Mitchell, Corey Anderson, Nick Kelly, Brett Hampton, Scott Kuggeleijn, Jono Boult, Zak Gibson, Freddy Walker
Otago Volts v Wellington Firebirds at University of Otago Oval, Dunedin — tickets at the gate
Hamish Rutherford (c), Gregor Croudis, Brad Wilson, Jimmy Neesham, Michael Bracewell, Josh Finnie, Anaru Kitchen, Derek de Boorder, Sam Wells, Christi Viljoen, Bradley Scott, Jack Hunter
Hamish Marshall (c), Michael Papps, Luke Woodcock, Stephen Murdoch, Tom Blundell, Scott Borthwick, Matt Taylor, Jeetan Patel, Anurag Verma, Brent Arnel, Hamish Bennett, Iain McPeake