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A handful of players with origins in the South will get a chance to impress the national selectors at the start of a huge year for New Zealand softball.
The Black Sox have named three groups of players for trials in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
From those, they will name a squad to contest the delayed Softball World Cup in Auckland in November.
The Christchurch trial group includes two of the Watts brothers, Ben and Cam, who are products of Otago Boys’ High School and played all their early softball in Dunedin before moving to Canterbury.
Ben, in particular, must be seen as a reasonable chance of making the final cut as he was in an initial Black Sox squad before the tournament was postponed due to Covid.
He has also been in exceptional form on the pitching mound in recent summers, most recently when he was a player of origin for Otago and inspired the province to victory in the Jefferies Cup.
Other players in the Christchurch trial include Mitchell Finnie, an old boy of King’s High School, and Southland product Braeden Heslip.
The Christchurch triallists will play two games on February 4 and two more on February 6.
New Zealand was set to host the World Cup in February 2021 before the postponement.
The tournament will now run from November 26 to December 4 at Rosedale Park, the venue of the 2013 tournament.
The Black Sox misfired at the last world championship, held in 2019, finishing fourth.
This will be the fourth time the tournament has been held in New Zealand.
It was previously held in Lower Hutt in 1976, Christchurch in 2004 and Auckland in 2013.
The Black Sox have won on home diamonds every time.