State Shield preview

The State Shield resumes this weekend with State Canterbury Wizards in possession of the trophy.

ended his career with a six to win the final in Christchurch and earn the Wizards the 50-over title at the expense of State Central Stags.

The Stags, who had the significant consolation of ending last season as first-class champions, have been finalists three years in a row, losing two since their 2004 victory over the Wizards.

The holders, and State Championship leaders, begin their defence at home to State Otago Volts. leads the side with BLACKCAPS opener and experienced all-rounder included.

The Stags start at Nelson’s Trafalgar Park against State Wellington Firebirds. Nelson native and Stags opener is confident they can again contend in the limited overs competition.

Barnett, a Canada ODI representative, said: “We’ve been in the last three finals and winners in 2004, so winning it is definitely the goal.

“Our form is fairly good going into the Shield. A lot of the skills are transferable, but there’s more emphasis on scoring quicker and more intensity in the field.”

returns after a two-year absence, while a century in both innings against the Wizards last week has earned a place in the one-day team.

BLACKCAPS Test players and also feature, while the Firebirds have two debutants in Michael Burns and Jeremy Dean to cover for their international players.

State Northern Knights return to Eden Park Outer Oval, the scene of their record Championship win over State Auckland Aces.

The Aces are without Twenty20 BLACKCAP , and injured internationals and .

They give one-day debuts to batsman Dave Haupapa and after the retirement of all-rounder .

Coach Mark O’Donnell said: “We know full well that we haven’t got things right in certain areas in the one-day stuff lately, but this time I think we’ve got a much better balance to the side.

"The boys are really keen to get off to a winning start, especially after losing to the Knights in the State Championship.”

The Knights are without international call-ups and , while captain is rested, allowing to lead the team.






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