Otago coach Vaughn Johnson
The first round of the Ford Trophy one-day competition
has thrown up plenty of challenges - and a possible new cap -
for Otago coach Vaughn Johnson.
The New Zealand XI match against England starting in
Queenstown tomorrow rules out Hamish Rutherford, Neil Wagner,
Neil Broom and James Neesham, offering up a possible start
for Sam Blakely.
Blakely (19), a right-arm seamer from the North East Valley
club, has pleased Johnson with his progress after a strong
showing at the provincial A tournament two months ago, when
he topped the tournament's wicket tally with 14 at an average
"He's been part of our stable since the beginning of the
season. He's come into the squad and he's done quite well,''
"He's another one of those young players we may have to give
an opportunity to.''
The final spot in the 12 was down to a battle of two, with
Blakely and first-class seamer Blair Soper the candidates for
the last place in the side.
"The other option was possibly Blair Soper, but we feel he's
more suited to four-day games at the moment, and Sam may be
more suited to the one-day game.''
Otago finished two spots ahead of Wellington in last year's
limited-overs competition, ending up third after losing to
Auckland in the last preliminary final before Auckland went
on to lose to Central Districts in the final.
The one-day competition last year was interrupted constantly
by weather. Otago was able to complete only five of its eight
games. Two were abandoned, while the second-round match
against Central Districts in Invercargill barely got under
way before being declared a no-result due to rain.
Wellington has named an experienced side, with returning
Black Caps all-rounder James Franklin taking up the
He is joined by Grant Elliott, who drops back from the
national side, while Jesse Ryder and Michael Papps give the
Firebirds plenty of batting depth.