Hawks eye up back-to-back titles at national over-40s tournament

The Mainland Hawks will be batting for back-to-back titles when the national interprovincial over-40s cricket tournament starts tomorrow.

The 27-strong squad, which represents Canterbury-Otago, won both divisions at the inaugural tournament in Blenheim last year.

They will take on Auckland, Districts (Central/Northern) and Wellington/Tasman at the four-day competition, which runs until Monday (December 4) at the Mandeville Sports Centre and Ohoka Cricket Club.

The final round robin games are set to be played on Sunday, while both finals are set to be held on Monday.

Mandeville Sports Centre and Ohoka Cricket Club will co-host the national interprovincial over...
Mandeville Sports Centre and Ohoka Cricket Club will co-host the national interprovincial over-40s tournament, which starts tomorrow and runs till Monday. Photo: Supplied
The players will also be vying for 16 spots in the New Zealand side set to compete for the first-ever international masters cricket Over-40s World Cup in South Africa in January and February.

The chance to be selected for the World Cup team means all sides will be fielding strong teams at the national interprovincial tournament.

NZ selector and Mainland Hawks player Simon Murphy said the players to watch out for include Hardeep Singh and Nick Horsley (Mainland Hawks), James Marshall and Scott Mara (Auckland), Pete Connell and Leighton Parsons (Districts), and Andrew McCaa (Wellington/Tasman).

"I can’t wait to defend our title on the grounds where I played so much of my career,” Murphy said.

"The standard of cricket, the competitiveness, the respect will jump a notch higher from last year’s tournament," said Murphy.

Murphy believes the chance to be selected to represent your country at a world cup has attracted some of the best players from across New Zealand.

National iterprovincial tournament co-ordinator for over 40s cricket, Warren Guy, says the on-field rivalries will be intense and competitive but the camaraderie off the pitch will create some long-lasting friendships.

By Warren Guy