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The clash of the two top sides, Southland (24) and South Canterbury (24), in zone four of the Hawke Cup elimination round could well decide which gets the Hawke Cup zone four challenge later in the season.
South Canterbury travels to Invercargill for this weekend’s game, while in the other game, North Otago (20) will face Mid Canterbury (0) at the Ashburton Domain and Otago Country (8) has the bye.
North Otago will bring a strong side to Ashburton, with former NZ under-19 and Volts bowler Nathan Smith namedin the North Otago side forhis first Hawke Cup gameafter being restricted in his activities while playing for the Volts.
The possibility of Nathan opening the attack gives North Otago a strong line-up with the ball, with former Volt Craig Smith, South African Francois Mostert, Ben Cant, Jeremy Smith and left-arm spinner Jordan Horrell all in the line-up.
If Nathan Smith is unavailable then Waitaki Boys first XI allrounder Scott Kitto will come into the North Otago side.
Mid Canterbury has not picked up any points to date in the elimination games but mentally on its home ground, the Ashburton Domain, it has plenty to play for.
Southland and South Canterbury will play off in an important game.
Southland’s bowling attack will be led by Volt Jacob Duffy and two newcomers to the side, Ben Lockrose and Jack Mockford, will add to the quality.
Newcomers to the South Canterbury side are Josh Smallridge, George Morgan, Ben Watson and Glen Matthews.
- Terry O'Neill
Ashburton, starts today
North Otago: Craig Smith (captain), Duncan Drew, Lachie Kingan, Jeremy Smith, Ben Cant, Nathan Smith, Leuw Johnson, Francois Mostert, Brady Kingan, Regan George, Jordan Horrell, Scott Kitto.
Mid Canterbury: Des Kruger, James Southby, Matt Tait, Bo Houston, Cam Jopson, Ryan Cockburn, Jay Houston, Alex Hooper, James Speer, Deon Biggs, Nick Gilbert.