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Central Stags, Central Hinds Super Smash squads named

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Central Stags are the last team to get lift-off in this year’s Burger King Super Smash, but BLACKCAPS T20 international Seth Rance says the new-look squad, annouced today, can’t wait to run onto Bay Oval tomorrow evening.

The televised game against hosts the Knights is a 2017/18 Grand Final rematch first-up - and exactly one year to the day since the two teams last met in Mount Maunganui, also under lights, in last year’s campaign.

While defending champions the Knights went on to claim the 2017/18 trophy at Hamilton’s Seddon Park, regular title comtenders the Stags will be drawing on far more positive memories under the Bay Oval lights tomorrow evening - having won handsomely at the Mount by 49 runs last year, becoming the only team to defeat the Knights at their coastal venue last summer.

"We like playing at Bay Oval, it’s a good ground, very familiar to many of us and there should be some swing," says Rance, one of five players with BLACKCAPS experience in the side.

"We’ve got a busy schedule, starting with three games in five days - the Bay Oval match followed by two home games at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth. But if we get onto a roll early, that will play into our hands.

"Momentum really helps in the T20 format so we’re keen to start strong and just keep it going through this first lot of games."

In addition to five BLACKCAPS, former captain Will Young will make his first appearance of the season for the Central Stags after having been released from the BLACKCAPS Test squad. Taranaki’s Young was in exceptional form for New Zealand A through the front of the season, earning a maiden call-up to the BLACKCAPS squad as batting cover two weeks ago.

Tomorrow’s clash will form the second act of the first Burger King Super Smash doubleheader to feature both the Central Hinds (v Northern Spirit at 3.45pm) and Central Stags (v Knights at 7pm), with both games broadcast live on SKY Sport.

"It’s a great initiative by New Zealand Cricket to showcase the women’s games and skills on TV, I really commend them for implementing it," says new Central Stags captain Tom Bruce. "Speaking with some of the Central Hinds, I know they are really looking forward to it.

"We’re also all looking forward to putting on a show on the 29th and 31st at home, and we always get a good crowd there over this time of year," says Bruce who will be captaining in his home town for the first time on the 29th.

"The weather is looking good, we think it might sell out, and we love the home support, so the message to our supporters is to get their tickets quickly - we don’t want our loyal supporters to be disappointed on game day this Saturday."

Last season saw queues out the gate during the first eight overs of the game: CDCA strongly advises spectators to arrive at Pukekura Park with plenty of time. Gates will open on 29 and 31 December at 11.45am, with the Central Hinds beginning their games at 12.45pm and Central Stags at 4pm. Tickets get supporters into both the Hinds and Stags game on the respective days and can be purchased in advance at Ticketek or at the gate.

Every ticket bought online wins an instant prize as well as entry into a draw for weekly prizes - and a Grand Prize draw for a $4000 trip to the Burger King Super Smash Grand Final.

Central Stags coach Heinrich Malan says his squad has plenty of talent waiting to showcase their skills, with off-spinner Felix Murray and allrounder Willem Ludick both in line to make their T20 debuts tomorrow, after the squad for Bay Oval was named today.

"It feels like we’ve been waiting a long time to get started, watching other teams on TV, but we’ve had a squad camp in Napier in the last week so we were able to get our wider squad of 20 or so players adequately prepared for the T20 mode," says Malan.

"It was one of the few times that we have been able to have just about everybody here together in camp [bar the Stags’ Test BLACKCAPS], which in the past we have struggled to do - it’s just the way CD is, with players from different regions spread over a huge area on two islands, and with BLACKCAPS and NZ A players coming and going as well.

"It allowed us to make sure we introduced those newer faces early doors into our T20 set-up and develop their T20-specific skills, boys who will be playing at some stage through our campaign."

The Central Hinds meanwhile have already played five rounds of Burger King Super Smash earlier this season, and are looking forward to getting on the board against Northern Spirit after four losses and one abandonment during spring weather.

While the Hinds are currently at the wrong end of the T20 table, they quickly picked themselves up to go top of the one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield - and then dropped just one Shield game to sit a close second to the Auckland Hearts at its midway point. The one-day competition is in recess while Burger King Super Smash hits fever pitch for the holiday season.

Several of the young Hinds squad also performed strongly in last week’s National Under 21 Women’s Tournament in Auckland, in which Rosemary Mair’s CD Under 21 finished a close second to Auckland. Mair and Claudia Green were both named in the Tournament team, alongside Taranaki youngster Taila Hurley - who may well be in the frame for the Pukekura Park matches when the Hinds squad will expand to 13.

The stable Central Hinds squad features two current WHITE FERNS, Jess Watkin and Hannah Rowe while recent WHITE FERN Natalie Dodd has also been in outstanding touch this summer.

BURGER KING SUPER SMASH

Thursday 27 December 2018

Bay Oval | Mt Maunganui

3.45pm - Northern Spirit v Central Hinds

7pm - Knights v Central Stags

CENTRAL HINDS Dec 27 Squad of 12

Anlo van Deventer (c) - Wairarapa

Georgia Atkinson -Wairarapa

Kate Baxter - Taranaki

Emily Cunningham - Taranaki

Natalie Dodd - Taranaki

Claudia Green - Nelson

Mikaela Greig - Manawatū

Esther Lanser - Wairarapa

Rosemary Mair - Hawke’s Bay

Hannah Rowe - (v-c) Manawatū

Kerry Tomlinson - (w) - Wairarapa

Jess Watkin -- Wanganui

Head Coach - Jamie Watkins

CENTRAL STAGS Dec 27 Squad of 13

Tom Bruce (c) - Taranaki

Doug Bracewell - Hawke’s Bay

Josh Clarkson - Nelson

Dane Cleaver (w) - Manawatū

Christian Leopard - Hawke’s Bay

Willem Ludick - potential T20 debut - Nelson

Felix Murray - potential T20 debut - Nelson

Kieran Noema-Barnett - Hawke’s Bay

Seth Rance - Wairarapa

Blair Tickner - Hawke’s Bay

Ben Wheeler - Marlborough

George Worker - Manawatū

Will Young - Taranaki

Head Coach - Heinrich Malan

Livescoring: visit nzc.nz

Twitter updates: @CentralStags and @CDCricket

Instagram updates: @CentralHinds and @CentralStags

Official hashtags: #BKSuperSmash #CentralHinds #LoveTheStags

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