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Potential Central Stags, Hinds Debuts Abound In Palmerston North Tomorrow

Potential debuts abound as the Central Stags and Hinds head into their first Dream11 Super Smash doubleheader of the 2022/23 T20 summer, tomorrow.

The Stags and Hinds open their campaign with a run of four home match days, starting at Palmerston North’s Fitzherbert Park tomorrow, 27 December against the Wellington Blaze and Firebirds — followed by three Pukekura Park festivals on 30 December, New Year’s Eve 31 December and 5 January.

Having attracted a record crowd at Fitzherbert Park last year, the Hinds would dearly love to become the first team in more than a year to end defending champion Wellington Blaze’s 12-match winning streak that stretches back to game one of last season.

Stacked with WHITE FERNS, the Blaze have headed to town to play a team captained by Manawatu local Jess Watkin, with fellow hometown reps Georgia Atkinson, WHITE FERNS seamer Hannah Rowe and Mikaela Greig also named in the opening squad.

Hawke’s Bay teenager Flora Devonshire, 19, has been named in the squad for the first time, fresh off the New Zealand Development Squad that toured India.

A graduate of the title-winning Central Districts Under-19 team last summer, Devonshire is a rarity in New Zealand women’s cricket: a left-hand batter.

While Devonshire is a potential debutante in the first match of the day, kicking off at 11am; ex-Northern Brave paceman Brett Randell, ex-Firebirds leg-spinner Brett Johnson, and Manawatu local, left-arm paceman Ray Toole all stand to make their T20 debuts for the high flying Central Stags tomorrow.

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Randell and Johnson have played in this competition previously with their former teams, Randell as a member of last year’s title-winning squad at Northern.

Captained by Tom Bruce, the Stags are leading the country’s one-day Ford Trophy after six of 10 rounds and are also in the leading bunch in the Plunket Shield first-class championship. The men have drawn on strong depth in the squad with its trio of Test BLACKCAPS, Blair Tickner, Will Young and Ajaz Patel, away in Pakistan.

Evergreen opening batsman Greg Hay and regular red-ball cpatain stands to make his first appearance of the season since breaking his forearm in the nets shortly before the summer began. Hay was a revelation last summer, after he was recalled to the Stags T20 team following a seven-year absence, and will no doubt have a keen eye on the team’s 21 January fixture against the Otago Volts at his home ground, Nelson’s Saxton Oval.

Hay scored three fifties, including a career best 76 last season and, alongside 292-match veteran Ross Taylor brings two decades of cricketing nous with him.

Gates open at 10am tomorrow with the Hinds toss at 10.30am and the the Stags match set to follow with first ball at 2.40pm.

Last season’s Fitzherbert Park doubleheader on the same date broke the ground attendance record and spectators are strongly advised to buy their tickets online ahead of the match and arrive with plenty of time to minimise queues at the gate.

Both matches are live and on demand at Spark Sport and livescored at www.cdcricket.co.nz

Dream11 Super Smash

11am and 2.40pm, 27 December, 2022

Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North

Hinds toss: 10.30am

Stags toss: 2.10pm

CENTRAL HINDS v Wellington Blaze

Jess Watkin (captain) — Manawatu

Georgia Atkinson — Manawatu

Ocean Bartlett — Wairarapa

Emily Cunningham — Taranaki

Flora Devonshire — Hawke’s Bay — uncapped

Natalie Dodd (v-c, wicketkeeper) — Taranaki

Claudia Green — Nelson

Mikaela Greig — Manawatu

Melissa Hansen — Wairarapa

Rosemary Mair — Hawke’s Bay

Hannah Rowe — Manawatu

Kerry Tomlinson — Hawke’s Bay

CENTRAL STAGS v Wellington Firebirds

Tom Bruce (captain) — Taranaki

Doug Bracewell — Hawke’s Bay

Josh Clarkson — Nelson

Dane Cleaver (wicketkeeper) — Manawatu

Greg Hay — Nelson

Brett Johnson (uncapped, previously Wellington Firebirds) — Hawke’s Bay

Jayden Lennox — Hawke’s Bay

Seth Rance — Wairarapa

Brett Randell (uncapped, previously Northern Brave)

Ben Smith — Whanganui

Ross Taylor — Manawatu/Wairarapa

Ray Toole (uncapped) — Manawatu/

Unavailable contracted players:

Ajaz Patel (BLACKCAPS in Pakistan)

Blair Tickner (BLACKCAPS in Pakistan)

Will Young (BLACKCAPS in Pakistan)

Joey Field (shoulder injury)

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