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Tickner returns and Foxcroft in line for debut for Central Stags

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Fuseworks Media

The Central Stags have not been defeated in a Plunket Shield match since October 2016 and are aiming to keep it that way heading into the third round of their first-class title defence tomorrow.

Coming off impressive home and away campaigns for New Zealand A, right-arm paceman Blair Tickner will make his first Central Stags appearance of the season against the Otago Volts in Alexandra.

Also named in tomorrow’s Plunket Shield squad for the first time this summer is powerful 20-year-old batsman Dean Foxcroft who stands to make his first-class debut after having shown his wares in an impressive maiden Ford Trophy campaign.

Foxcroft’s form is a timely boost for the unbeaten Stags who hold a 10-point lead on the Plunket Shield field from the opening two rounds earlier this season despite missing a swathe of regulars to injury or national selection.

The Stags will head to Molyneux Park without the services of opening batsman Ben Smith who continues to rehabilitate from a broken thumb; Christian Leopard and Adam Milne (side strains), while Bevan Small continues to return from his injury niggle and form allrounder Ben Wheeler sits out the action as part of his carefully managed return from spinal fusion surgery.

Hawke’s Bay’s exciting Tickner is one of a number of Central Stags whose standout performances in last summer’s championship-winning Plunket Shield campaign - including a first-class hat-trick - captured the attention of national selectors.

Earlier this season he took four wickets against Pakistan A in the spin-friendly conditions of UAE in his debut campaign for New Zealand A, before returning to New Zealand and impressing in the rain-affected but hard-fought drawn first-class series against India A.

Tickner claimed seven India A wickets with a best of 4-80, proving himself a nemesis for their experienced top order.

"It was a great experience being away with New Zealand A," says Tickner.

"I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my game. It was a test playing in different conditions and against quality players, and overall a great learning experience which tested my skills.

"Now I’m really looking forward to getting back to the Stags for the summer now and hopefully we can continue our run with the Plunket Shield in these next two rounds and onto the Burger King Super Smash."

Hawke’s Bay’s Foxcroft averaged a hefty 51.80 from his first six Ford Trophy games, including a maiden century - an unbeaten 120 - in just his second game for the Stags, against Northern Districts in Hamilton.

The four-day match against Ford Trophy finalists the Otago Volts begins at 10.30am with live-scoring on www.nzc.nz, with the Stags set to return home to Nelson’s Saxton Oval to meet The Ford Trophy champions the Wellington Firebirds the following week.

Central Stags squad | Plunket Shield Round Three

Greg Hay (c) - Nelson, caps: 66 + 2 for NZA

Tom Bruce - Taranaki,caps: 32 + 2 for NZA

Josh Clarkson - Nelson, caps: 2

Dane Cleaver (w) - Manawatū, caps: 34 + 2 for NZA

Dean Foxcroft - Hawke’s Bay, caps: 0

Willie Ludick - Nelson, caps: 3

Ryan McCone - Horowhenua-Kapiti, caps: 43 + 5 for Canterbury

Felix Murray - Nelson, caps: 3

Navin Patel - Manawatū, caps: 13

Kieran Noema-Barnett - Hawke’s Bay, caps: 42 + 40 for Gloucestershire

Brad Schmulian - Hawke’s Bay, caps: 8

Blair Tickner - Hawke’s Bay, Caps: 28 + 5 for NZA

Round 3 - Plunket Shield

Otago Volts v Central Stags

10.30am 6-9 Decemver 2018

Alexandra, Central Otago

Livescoring: visit nzc.nz

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