By Peter Jones
Home advantage may be the only thing that separates two evenly-matched teams when the Tasman Premier League cricket final is contested at Horton Park on Saturday.
The Marlborough Labour Hire Dolphins host Nelson club Stoke Nayland in a fitting climax to the new, season-long 50-over competition.
Both teams are worthy finalists as they have produced consistent form throughout the competition and been the front runners from start to finish.
Dolphins are top qualifiers and have earned home ground advantage, having beaten Stoke Nayland in their two previous meetings this season, home and away.
In Prabodha Arthavidu and Josh Poole they have two of the best-performed batsmen in the league, big-match players who have consistently been among the runs.
They will miss the inspirational Jerrym Lamb again on Saturday, the rep allrounder tied up with harvest commitments, but there is depth and character in the Dolphins squad.
Accomplished opener Luke Frankland, youngster Tom Sutherland, Jack Holdaway, Kirk Nicholas and Ben Blackman are all very capable with the bat.
The home side’s bowling attack is often under-rated but, as their record shows, gets the job done. Medium pacers Blackman and Akhil Bhardvaj regularly pick up important wickets, while the spin
twins of Arthavidu and Poole have proved difficult to dominate.
Their opponents eased past the Falcons in last week’s semi and appear to be approaching full noise. They will be looking to add this last piece of silverware to complete the clean sweep for
There should be runs aplenty with Darius Skeaping and Paddy Howes both in good nick while Ben Homan was key to both his side’s wins last weekend.
There is plenty of back up with allrounders Ben Stark, Tim O’Connor, Samuel Chamberlain and Dylan Eginton in the line-up.
Keeper Ricky Edwards comes from pretty good batting stock and he too will relish the occasion.
The visitor’s bowling attack is well-balanced with a raft of medium pacers and the left arm spin of Howes.
Dolphins: Luke Frankland, Hayden Gauden, Prabodha Arthavidu, Josh Poole, Tom Sutherland, Jack Holdaway,
Ben Blackman, Kirk Nicholas, Liam Young, Logan Robinson, Akhil Bhardvaj, Ben Holdaway (12th man)
Stoke Nayland: Brendan Hodgson, Darius Skeaping, Kurt Pahl, Patrick Howes, Ricky Edwards, Ben Homan,
Samuel Chamberlain, Dylan Eginton, Tim O’Connor, Ben Stark, Mark Mekalick.
The game begins at 11.30am on Horton Park 1.