The Central Districts Stags are playing host to the Wellington Firebirds at the Saxton Oval this afternoon.
The men’s domestic Twenty20 game began at 4pm and kick-starts a weekend of high-level cricket, including two international women’s games.
Nelson Cricket’s Richard Hayworth says what the region did for the Cricket World Cup clearly impressed New Zealand Cricket, who have since scheduled several high-class games in the region.
“We’ve got some of the best players in the country today, and obviously the best women players in the next couple of days, it’s great to be able to bring the best cricketers in the country and around the world to Nelson,” says Richard.
“Twenty20 cricket is all action and we’ve got lots of music, bouncy castles for the kids and heaps of other things happening, it’s going to be an awesome experience for anyone that comes.”
Nelson players Marty Kain and fresh face, Josh Clarkson are hitting the pitch for the Central District Stags.
“Marty Kain has been around the Nelson scene for a while, he’s one of the more experienced players, then we’ve got young Josh Clarkson who is only 18,” says Richard.
“He just broke into the Central Districts team, he’s a big hitter and actually won the game for Central Districts a couple of games ago. To suddenly go from school cricket to first-class cricket is a bit of a meteoric rise to fame but I’m sure he’ll be working really hard to keep a place on the team and give them some great results.”
“It’s great to have two local guys representing CD and playing major parts in the team’s success, we’re really looking forward to watching them perform.”
Also hitting the pitch for the Central District Stags is former Sri Lankan captain, and cricketing legend Mahela Jayawardene.
“It’s very special to have Mahela in the Stags, he is one of the top three or four Twenty20 players in the world, he’s got a great record in all forms of cricket but particularly T20.”
“He’s gonna bring a lot of experience to the team, particularly for the youngsters and it’s going to be a great spectacle for the crowd.”
This weekend’s games serve as a warm up for the One Day Internationals featuring the Black Caps over New Years.