The Central Stags’ opening one-day match of the season at Saxton Oval last week acted as a homecoming for a quartet of players.
A pair of stalwarts and two young guns will again represent the region during the Stags Ford Trophy campaign, which sees Central return to Saxton Oval today to take on Northern Districts.
Greg Hay has been recalled to the limited overs squad for the first time in four years, joining allrounder Josh Clarkson for his fourth season with the Stags. Debutantes Willem Ludick and Felix Murray also got the call up.
This marks the first time in more than 20 seasons that the Stags has featured four Nelson representatives.
Still only 21-years-old, Josh brings valuable experience to the squad while Willie and Felix both made their List A debuts last Wednesday against the Volts.
Felix says it has been great to play with so many familiar faces.
“It’s also always nice to play home at Saxton.”
The wiley young spinner says the Stags have shown plenty of promise early on in the season.
“We just stumbled a bit in the last game but have got some impressive wins, so hopefully can continue to keep improving with a young side.”
Willem says having so many Nelsonians in the squad is very satisfying.
“In a packed campaign like the Ford Trophy this year we need to stay in the moment and take it day by day, and that is what we are looking to do.”
Greg, the Central Stags’ captain in the Plunket Shield format, says he is relishing a homecoming.
“It’s good to be back home, Saxton is a great ground and it’s always nice to come home to Nelson.”
While four-day cricket is Greg’s “bread and butter,” he is hoping to be a regular name in the limited overs squad, too.
“We will be missing a few established players on national duty so there will be a few spots in that one-day side, so hopefully I can make my way in.”
The 34-year-old says he has no plans to hang up the bat any time soon.
“I am hoping to keep playing as far as I can, if the desire and passion is still there and at this stage it is, when you stop having that drive to train and get better that’s when you start to question it, but I am still loving it.”
Greg is coming off his most prolific season yet, having scored 786 runs at 60.46 from nine matches to finish as one of New Zealand’s top two run scorers in the Plunket Shield last summer.