Another remarkable weekend looms as the six Major Association teams arrive in Queenstown for the annual Masters Tournament, to be played on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April.
Auckland are seeking a third successive title at the Queenstown Events Centre, but with a few personal changes - including last year’s inspirational skipper Kerry Walmsley – the quest for a rare three peat will be challenging.
Last year’s beaten finalists, Northern, again look strong with a number of new players in the team for the weekend including a few with a bit more spring in their step like Nick Horsely and Grant Robinson. Regular faces remain in the other four teams and with Mark Greatbatch and Craig Spearman in the batting line-up, Central could provide a few surprises over the weekend.
Ewen Chatfield is the figurehead of a Wellington side that could manage the odd upset or two. Chris Nevin and Paul Hitchcock may provide the boost the capital team needs at the top of the order after a couple of close matches last year, including that memorable tie against Otago.
The Cantabrians fast paced approach can unsettle the opposition and with some real match winners in their side they, or the local Otago side, could prise the trophy back to the South Island for the first time in 5 years.
The attendance streak continues for the veterans of the tournament, Graham Burnett, Barry Cooper, Martin Pringle and Bill Fowler, who have each attended all of the Masters Tournaments since their inception.
The draw for the weekend sees the top two seeds (2015 finalists) face off on the opening morning, with each side getting a favourable path to the semi-finals that afternoon. However, this is no recipe for success as the winners are predominately those who create momentum throughout the weekend, with the winner historically going through the tournament unbeaten.
So the platform is set for another action packed weekend of fun on and off the park.
Morning – 10am start
M1 Wellington v Canterbury
M2 Central v Otago
M3 Auckland (1) v Northern (2)
Afternoon - 2pm start
M4 Final Qualifier A
Winner M2 v Winner M3
M5 Final Qualifier B
Winner M1 v Loser M3
M6 Loser M1 v Loser M2
M7 Ranking Playoff
Loser M4 v Winner M6
M8 Ranking Playoff
Loser M5 v Loser M6
M9 Championship Final
Winner M4 v Winner M5
Scorecards from the matches will be available on Crichq.com over the weekend.