Notes from the slip. November 10th

Hitting the mark

It still hurts that former Otago all-rounder Nathan Smith decided his cricketing future was better served playing for Wellington.

Losing a player of his calibre a couple of years ago was a gut-blow for the programme.

He struggled with a back complaint last year, but is quickly making up for some lost overs with a tremendous start to the Plunket Shield.

He nabbed 13 wickets in the first two games and followed it up with a five-wicket bag against Northern Districts.

He dropped on to a threatening line and length and was well-served by some top slip catching.

He made a half-century in the first innings as well. Come back, Nath.


Michael Rippon still wore Otago colours last season. PHOTO: ODT ARCHIVES
Michael Rippon still wore Otago colours last season. PHOTO: ODT ARCHIVES
Crease bound
Another former Otago player who decided he needed to move on to further his career underlined what a loss he will be this season.

Left-arm wrist spinner Michael Rippon transferred to Canterbury this summer to challenge himself in a new environment and helped lead his new side to victory against Auckland with four for 85.

Rippon had been a regular in the Volts side since his Plunket Shield debut in 2017.

He took 105 wickets at 34.96 and scored 1760 runs at 28.38 for the province.

When a player like Rippon suddenly decamps then questions have to be asked whether all is well in the environment.

Otago could not find a like-for-like replacement for Rippon, and they have been desperately trying to bolster their meagre supply of seamers for more than a few seasons now and have had no joy either.

Meanwhile, Canterbury have a stockpile of eight contracted seamers.

Surely one or two could have been lured a little further south for the promise of some regular game time?

Instead the Volts are leaning heavily on Jacob Duffy to carry the attack ... again.

The poor guy bowled 1739 deliveries in the Plunket Shield last season — more than anyone else in the competition with the exception of Auckland spinner Will Somerville, who sent down 1815 deliveries.


The declaration

Otago’s recruitment battles are not new.

It has been an ongoing battle, so you cannot pin all the Volts’ current issues on the front office or the team management.

New Zealand Cricket have a larger role to play here if they choose, and they choose not to.

They have a player loan system in place which the major associations can lean on if they have a pressing need in a certain area.

But if NZC chose, they could extend the loan system to ensure the best 66 players were playing each week — and that more than three or four of the eight Canterbury seamers got a run.