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Wellington Firebirds team named for Round One

Wellington Firebirds team named for Round One of the Plunket Shield

The Wellington Firebirds team to play Auckland at Wellington’s Basin Reserve from Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th October has been named, with Logan van Beek and Michael Bracewell (as captain) in line to make their debuts for the side.

The Wellington Firebirds squad is:

Michael Bracewell (Captain)
Hamish Bennett
Tom Blundell
Fraser Colson
Iain McPeake
Stephen Murdoch
Ollie Newton
Jeetan Patel
Michael Papps
Matt Taylor
Logan van Beek
Luke Woodcock

The Firebirds went through the first half of last season’s Plunket Shield competition unbeaten, including a win in the corresponding fixture that opened their campaign at Mt Maunganui. After proving to be the country’s dominant white ball force in the First-Class break, their red ball form dropped away to see them finish in the middle of the table.

Bracewell and van Beek bring extensive First-Class experience in to the squad where they are joined by Ollie Newton, who will be hoping to make his First-Class debut after first appearing for the Firebirds in Super Smash action two seasons ago. Newton is understandably keen to be involved,

“It’s been great to have a full pre-season behind me after some injury frustrations last year. Like the rest of the team, I’ve been working really hard, but it’s nice to be rewarded with a spot in the 12.”

This year, with an extra month of time together as a team, the Firebirds are focused on maintaining their form through a long season that is punctuated by a revolving door of formats. Head Coach Bruce Edgar is positive about his side’s fortunes with a strong pre-season behind them,

“The Basin groundstaff did a brilliant job in preparing wickets that enabled us to get outside on grass, basically, from the day we came together. We’ve had three warm-up matches in a solid pre-season programme which has the guys keen to get to real cricket. They know there’s a different challenge coming on Monday but they’re extremely motivated to start our season on a positive note.”

Michael Bracewell joined the Firebirds in the off-season and will line up as captain in his debut for the capital city side. Although he came to Wellington looking to take on a leadership role, the captaincy came as something of a surprise. Now, on the verge of the season, that honour sits a little easier,

“Leading this side is a real honour and something that I’m really looking forward to. In the time we’ve been together we’ve really built on the team culture that saw the Firebirds be so successful last season, now it’s time to translate that to on-field performances and I’m excited about the role I have to play in that.”

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