First-class cricket comes to the Hawkins Basin Reserve for the first time this season with the Wellington Firebirds hosting the Canterbury Wizards in the Plunket Shield competition.
The four-day match starts on Thursday. Scheduled hours of play are from 10.30am - 6.00pm and, as with all Plunket Shield matches, entry is free.
Wellington’s two previous home Plunket Shield matches this season were played at Karori Park as the Hawkins Basin Reserve, New Zealand’s most iconic cricket ground, was re-laid in the off-season. The ground reopened for cricket earlier this month hosting four HRV Cup Twenty20 matches.
This week’s match against the Canterbury Wizards at the Hawkins Basin Reserve is the first of three Plunket Shield matches there throughout February. The Firebirds play the Auckland Aces at the Hawkins Basin Reservenext week and then host the Otago Volts there later in the month.
There are also four Ford Trophy One-Day round-robin matches at the ground, plus any Finals Series matches, in late February and in March. The second ANZ Test series match between the BLACKCAPS and England will be at the Hawkins Basin REserve from 14-18 March.
The Firebirds and the Wizards are both chasing vital competition points in this match. The Firebirds missed out on a positive result in their previous match against Otago in Dunedin, while the Wizards were beaten by 81 runs by the Central Stags in Napier.
Heading into this match the Plunket Shield points table is: Central Stags 92 (played 7 of 10); Otago Volts 77 (played 7); Northern Knights 55 (played 6); Auckland Aces 52 (played 6); Wellington Firebirds 50 (played 6); Canterbury Wizards 43 (played 6).
In the Firebirds’ and Wizards’ previous meeting earlier this season in Rangiora, the Wizards chased down 303 on the final day to win by 6 wickets.
The Firebirds squad to play the Wizards is:
Stephen Murdoch (Captain, Karori)
Harry Boam (Karori)
Josh Brodie (Eastern Suburbs)
Grant Elliott (Naenae Old Boys)
Tipene Friday (North City)
Mark Gillespie (North City)
Scott Kuggeleijn (Wellington Collegians)
Michael Papps (Wellington Collegians)
Michael Pollard (North City)
Luke Ronchi (North City)
Jesse Ryder (Naenae Old Boys)
MalaesailiTugaga (Wellington Collegians)
Luke Woodcock (Johnsonville)
Grant Elliott, who has been in South Africa with the Black Caps, is only available for days three and four and Luke Ronchi available for days one, two and three before he joins up with the New Zealand XI to play England in two warm-up Twenty20 matches on 4 and 6 February in Whangarei. .
Replacements from within this squad above will be decided on the first morning of the match.
Match Information: What:
Wellington Firebirds v Canterbury Wizards, round seven of 10Where:
Hawkins Basin ReserveWhen
: Thursday 31 January - Sunday 3 FebruaryMatch details
: Start times 10.30am. Live scoring on this website.