Turning back the clock for Slog Sweep cricket clash

Cricket and rugby stars will be turning back the clock for a festival cricket game between stars from two different codes.

Palmerston North Boys’ High School is holding “Slog Sweeps”, a twenty-two game at Fitzherbert Park on Friday afternoon between former students of rugby and cricket fame.

It is based on the Black Clash, a festival match between former New Zealand professional cricket and rugby players.

Former Italy rugby international Dean Budd, 36, will be suiting up for team Sweep, the rugby team, and said he was “extremely nervous”.

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Budd has been back in New Zealand for about 18 months after 10 years playing rugby in Japan and Italy. He played 29 tests for Italy, including three as captain.

“I haven’t played cricket since I was at school and I was terrible back then. When I saw the team list come through, I think there’s about six recently retired Black Caps in there.”

The withdrawal of Black Caps fast bowler Adam Milne, who has New Zealand commitments, was welcome news to Budd.

But he was excited about rubbing shoulders with some old schoolmates and legends of cricket.

He planned on attending a net session on Friday, which may be an important warm-up for some who are coming out of retirement.

“I’ll go along and throw a few down, but I don’t want to waste too many good balls or good shots.”

Budd played in the third form and fourth form specials teams when he was at school, but said he was a specialist fielder and his game plan was going for a first-ball six.

“I didn’t bowl and batted about seven. I think I was in the team for my high-energy fielding and sledging ability.”

Mathew Sinclair playing for Central Districts in 2011. The former New Zealand batsman is still playing club cricket in Hawke's Bay.

Dean Kozanic/Stuff

Mathew Sinclair playing for Central Districts in 2011. The former New Zealand batsman is still playing club cricket in Hawke’s Bay.

Former New Zealand cricketer Mathew Sinclair, 47, is in the Slog team, the cricket squad.

He is still playing club cricket for Napier Old Boys Marist, but this game would be the first time he had picked up a bat since last summer.

“I don’t play as much as what I used to be able to play purely because of work and kids and just wanting to give the other guys an opportunity more than anything. I still want to give back to the game.”

Sinclair had been part of two Black Clash games and thought Boys’ High doing its own one was a great concept.

“Call it white-line fever, as soon as the guys get over the line they’ll take it seriously.”

Mark Gunning is in the Sweep side and is at the “older end of the scale”, but was a member of the New Zealand over-60 team that recently competed at the over-60 World Cup in Australia, where they lost the final to Pakistan.

He was looking forward to playing and said the game should be a lot of fun.

Unavailable are former Black Caps all-rounder Jacob Oram, Black Sticks hockey player Nick Wilson, former New Zealand batsman George Worker, former CD wicketkeeper Bevan Griggs, sports boss Bart Campbell, Hawke’s Bay rugby coach Josh Syms, New Zealand sevens player Kurt Baker and New Zealand Māori rugby player Ruben Love.

Team Slog (cricket): Ross Taylor (captain), Mathew Sinclair, Jamie How, Dave Meiring, Ian Sandbrook, Dave Fulton, Dane Cleaver, Robbie Laird, Paul Gibbs, Andrew Murley, Matthew Goodson, David Bovey, Mitch Renwick. Coach: Alec Astle.

Team Sweep (Rugby): Craig Clare (captain), Andre Taylor, Dean Budd, Mark Gunning, Tony Falloon, Brett Davis, Roald Badenhorst, Bevan Small, Bryce Grant, Scott Larsen, Jarred Cunningham, Tim Richards. Coach: Dave Syms.

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