Wheeler back in action

Friday, Feb 19 2021

Wheeler back in action

Will Johnston

Attention switches back to the one-day format for the Central Stags starting today and Sunday against the Auckland Aces at Eden Park.

The Stags are coming off a third-place finish in the Dream11 Super Smash Twenty20 competition after it lost to Canterbury in a thrilling elimination final.

For this weekend’s games, strike bowler Ben Wheeler, pictured, returns to the side after a long absence. His injury saw him miss all of the season and hasn’t played a match for the Stags since March last year.

Captain Tom Bruce said the team was looking to take the momentum gathered from a strong T20 campaign.

“We didn’t get off to a good start in the pre-Christmas rounds of the Ford Trophy, but with a fairly congested table, we’re still very much in contention for a playoff spot. And if you make the play-off, you’re a chance.”

Auckland sits two points ahead of the Stags and Bruce said this weekend was a chance to take two wins in the competition.

“We’ve got everything to play for and we’re certainly motivated to put in a strong performance at Outer Oval with an opportunity for us to move up the table,” he said.

After six rounds, the Stags picked up the solitary win with a lot of matches affected by the weather before Christmas.

Wheeler effectively replaces Doug Bracewell, who suffered a side strain during a bowling spell in the nets and will miss this weekend.

Blackcap Ross Taylor is also named in the side, making it his first Ford Trophy match since February 2017. Taylor will bring up his 300th List A (domestic one-day) match on Sunday.

Batsman Will Young will play his 50th match for the Stags today.

After today’s matches, there are three rounds to play before the playoffs on  March 3.

v Auckland Aces Eden Park Outer Oval Round 7 | 11am, Friday, 19; February Round 8 | 11am, Sunday, 21 February; Admission: Closed to spectators [Level Two Alert protocol].

Tom Bruce (c), Josh Clarkson, Dane Cleaver (w), Joey Field, Jayden Lennox, Christian Leopard, Ajaz Patel, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner, Ben Wheeler, George Worker, Will Young, Coach: Aldin Smith