North City rar­ing to go out and bat

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

The new cricket sea­son is al­most upon us – well, maybe.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the sum­mer code kicks off over Labour Week­end, but a dread­ful win­ter has meant many grounds are not in the best shape. There have been con­cerns the start of the sea­son – sched­uled this com­ing week­end – may be de­layed, but the North City se­niors are ready to walk out onto the wicket.

They are set to play two Twenty20 games at Kil­birnie Park on Satur­day and a one-dayer against Col­le­gians at Lin­den on Mon­day. New Norths skip­per Rus­sell Kyne has as­sumed the man­tle af­ter the re­tire­ments of Sam Fair­ley and Ben Jansen. They will also be with­out Michael Martin, who is study­ing in Hamil­ton, while Fire­birds Mark Gille­spie, Dewayne Bow­den, Ili Tu­gaga and Joe Austin-Smel­lie – the lat­ter two earn­ing Welling­ton con­tracts for the first time – will be ab­sent on rep du­ties dur­ing sum­mer.

‘‘Ben and Sam wanted to move on; we might get them back for the odd game, but it just means the rest of us have to step up,’’ Kyne says. ‘‘We still have that core of se­nior play­ers [ such as Aaron McCash, Fraser Quar­ter­man, Michael Pol­lard and the re­turn­ing Nick An­gus] and we’re look­ing for­ward to a good sea­son. We’re fit, been train­ing for eight weeks now and ev­ery­one’s ready to go.’’

The bowl­ing at­tack will still be strong with Gille­spie, Quar­ter­man, Tipene Fri­day, Tu­gaga and new spin­ner Raj Chawla giv­ing Kyne plenty of op­tions, at the out­set of the club sea­son at least. An­gus will help shore up a top or­der that will surely miss Fair­ley and Jansen.

Af­ter mak­ing the two-day fi­nal in 2008, last sea­son was one where rel­e­ga­tion was briefly flirted with, be­fore set­tling midtable. Kyne is con­fi­dent they will ‘‘push for the fi­nals’’ in 2011, say­ing the top four is their tar­get.

‘‘We’re the sort of team, who, if we get on a roll and win a few games in a row, can re­ally be a threat.’’

He ad­mits the de­par­ture of coach Dun­can Mur­ray, who wanted more time with his fam­ily, is a blow, as he breathed life into the se­nior play­ers when he came on board three sea­sons ago.

‘‘ He def­i­nitely brought an en­ergy to the team and got us up when things weren’t work­ing so well and heads dropped. He’s go­ing to help us out when he can but we have to learn to help our­selves more.’’

Kyne is no stranger to cap­taincy, hav­ing pre­vi­ously skip­pered Welling­ton at un­der-17 and un­der-19 lev­els. This will be his sixth sea­son in the Pearce Cup, so he knows what is ex­pected in­tends to rel­ish the new role.

‘‘I’ve al­ways thought of my­self as a leader and I’ve been in charge of a few games [for Norths] in the past. I’ll take this chance with both hands, and it will help hav­ing guys like McCash and Pol­lard around me. They have such a good knowl­edge base.’’

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