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Hawke's Bay United beat the Wellington Phoenix.

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Hawke's Bay United earned a scrappy 2-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix at Newtown Park on Saturday to move into second place in the ASB Premiership.

In a game that didn't reach the heights of the 5-5 draw that occurred the last time these two teams met, Sam Mason-Smith's bookend double - moving his tally for the season to six - secured Hawke’s Bay’s third win in four matches, moving his team eight points behind leaders Auckland City FC.

Hawke’s Bay United coach Brett Angell was pleased to earn the victory but the manner in which it was achieved needs work from his view.

"We came here to win the game and that’s what we’ve done," Angell said.

"I felt we were too quick to get ourselves in during the first half, we never really linked that well. Also I think we had a lot of opportunities where the final ball was lacking or players haven’t attacked the box to try and score goals.

"Overall, it’s great we’ve won the game but on reflection from a performance point of view we have played better this season."

Phoenix coach Andy Hedge felt his side tailed off in the second 45 minutes after a good start against a team in the thick of the playoff race.

"First half I thought we were really good," Hedge said, "in the second half were just weren't anywhere near as good as we should be.

"Hawke's Bay played very well in certain areas of the pitch. They bullied us a lot, which they will do against young kids. Their two strikers in particular were really strong in holding the ball up, linking play and bullying our young boys into submission really."

Mason-Smith opened the scoring in the sixth minute after being played into space, the Hawke's Bay striker used some fancy footwork to fool Lewis Italiano in goal, then tapped the ball into an open net.

Hawke's Bay were the better side for the remainder of the first half, but Logan Rogerson had a chance to send the home team into the break level. After being played in one-on-one, he successfully rounded Hill in goal, only to have his shot cleared off the line by Cory Chettleburgh.

The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Hawke's Bay creating a chance in the first minute of the half through Hamish Watson, but his shot flashed across the face of goal and wide.

The remainder of the second half played out with very few goal scoring chances being created, as solid defensive work prevented the Phoenix from creating the chance for an equaliser.

Mason-Smith changed that in the 89th minute, as he shot from an acute angle, past Oliver Sail in goal and just inside the far post to confirm a much-needed three points for his team as they make their run towards the playoffs.

The ASB Premiership action continues on Sunday with Southern United hosting Team Wellington and WaiBOP United entertaining Canterbury United.

ASB Premiership 2015-16 - Round 11

Saturday 6 February

Wellington Phoenix 0-2 Hawke’s Bay United (half: 0-1)

WP: -

HB: Sam Mason-Smith 6', 89’

Wellington Phoenix: 20. Lewis ITALIANO (GK - 30. Oliver SAIL 60'), 3. Justin GULLEY, 15. James McGARRY (35. Ruari CAHILL-FLEURY 46'), 24. Logan ROGERSON, 36. Liam WOOD, 37. Sam PHILIP, 39. Joe BELL, 41. Cherbel KHOUCHABA, 44. Louis EVANS, 46. Jack-Henry SINCLAIR, 47. Liam HARE

Substitutes not used: 31. Luke TONGUE, 38. Sam WILSON, 42. Nick LANE

Coach: Andy Hedge

Hawkes Bay United 1. Josh HILL (GK), 2. Sean LIDDICOAT, 3. Kohei MATSUMOTO, 4. Fin MILNE, 7. Cory CHETTLEBURG (19. Bihanu TAYE 86'), 10. Zane SOLE, 14. Paul IFILL (8. Tom BISS 57'), 15. Sam MASON-SMITH, 16. Hamish WATSON, 18. Martin CANALES, 21. Fabien Kurimati ()11. Khair JONES 69')

Substitutes not used: 5. Harrison NASH, 26. Kyle BAXTER

Coach: Brett Angell

Match report by Wellington Phoenix

Tim Southee will return to the bowling crease this morning in Napier

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Tim Southee will return to the bowling crease this morning.

After more than a month out of cricket with a foot injury, he'll take the new ball for Northern Districts on day two of their Plunket Shield match against Central Districts in Napier.

Northern managed 268 on day one after being sent in.

In Christchurch, Auckland will resume on 10 for one in reply to Canterbury's 294.

And in Queenstown, Wellington's 280 for seven in its match against Otago.

Hawke's Bay girl wins double sculls on Karapiro

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Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane have shaken off the turmoil of the past month to convincingly win the women's double sculls at the Cambridge Town Cup regatta on Lake Karapiro.

The world champions were caught in the middle of a stoush between Rowing New Zealand and their coach Dick Tonks following his shock resignation last month.

Tonks, who fell out with management over him coaching two Chinese athletes, was eventually appointed to a role outside the national squad in which he would continue to coach the duo, along with Olympic men's single champion Mahe Drysdale.

Stevenson and Macfarlane responded with a dominant performance in their return to the water, winning on Sunday by more than three seconds.

"Being back with him (Tonks) these last two weeks has been really good. It has just reinforced that we really do want him as a coach," Stevenson said.

"He's been great and we have just kept on improving so it works really well for us and we enjoy it."

The 24-year-old from Hawke's Bay did admit that the episode had taken its toll on her and Macfarlane emotionally.

"I'm sure it probably affected us more than we probably realised in terms of the stress but we really just tried to keep out of it for the most part and keep on training."

Despite the setback, she feels they are both on track for the Rio Olympics but are just taking it one step at a time.

Their combination is still less than a year old so there is still ample room for improvement, she said.

"Gold is the big thing but we are looking at the smaller picture still in terms of improving our racing."

McCullum fit, Guptil 50-50, Watling out following Napier match abandonment.

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BJ Watling is out

A twisted ankle means opener Martin Guptill is a doubtful starter for today's deciding one-day international between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park.

An assessment will be made this morning at the team hotel. The Auckland-based Guptill stayed at home last night in a bid to rehabilitate.

New Zealand lead the series 1-0 after Thursday's second match was abandoned in Napier.

Guptill suffered the injury during a drill yesterday. The ankle was iced immediately but he took no further part in training.

"He's probably a 50:50 prospect," coach Mike Hesson said.

In contrast, Brendon McCullum declared himself fit for a recall. He got through training after a week pursuing his hobby of horse breeding and ownership at the Karaka yearling sales.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling is out of the third international. Watling had a sore back after training yesterday and has been ruled out of the match.

Luke Ronchi, the regular limited overs keeper flew to Auckland from Wellington last night and has replaced Watling in the squad for the series decider.

McCullum resumes the captaincy from Kane Williamson.

The skipper said had felt a release of pressure heading towards international retirement next month, after an Australian series in which he will become the first cricketer to play 100 consecutive tests from debut.

McCullum has played with regular injury niggles of late, but believed he was capable of enduring to retirement. He will play in the Indian Premier League, England T20 Blast and Caribbean Premier League in the aftermath.

McCullum is entered alongside Guptill as a marquee signing in the six-franchise CPL, played from the end of June to the start of August.

"You can steel yourself to operate while not 100 per cent fit by getting your head in the right frame of mind," McCullum said. "A competitive nature can overcome being stiff and sore."

Tom Latham is expected to open with McCullum if Guptill fails to pass muster.

Curiously, in 69 completed one-dayers at Eden Park, only six totals have surpassed 300.

The highest (340-5 by New Zealand chasing Australia's 336-4 in 2007) came before the ground dimensions and pitch angle changed in 2010.

The next best, 314, came in the 2014 New Zealand-India tie.

Colin Munro summed up the "eyes bigger than bats" syndrome after New Zealand's T20 win over Sri Lanka.

"Guys see those straight boundaries for the first time and look to go there rather than playing decent cricket shots. They try to overclub."

Hesson agreed: "History suggests sides look at what they think is a par score and add more. When sides first arrive here it can be good to field first because they go too hard too soon."

Pakistan had few problems in this month's T20, winning by 16 runs in a match which amassed a total of 326.

"The short boundaries can be a lure," McCullum said, after scoring 50 off 24 balls against Australia and 59 off 26 balls against South Africa in his last ODI appearances at the venue, during the World Cup.

"The boundaries are a bit larger square which makes you think different tactically. The smart play can be to avoid [being tempted by] the short boundary."

The New Zealand squad for the Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia was also named yesterday. The only personnel change is the return of Luke Ronchi for B-J Watling as wicketkeeper.

Doug Bracewell remains, as Mitchell McClenaghan recovers from surgery on his left eye socket on Friday.

Latham will drop out if McCullum and Guptill are declared fit.

Hesson confirmed Tim Southee's foot injury was tracking well. A Plunket Shield appearance is still scheduled for Northern Districts starting February 5.

The coach said a recovery timeframe was harder to put on Ross Taylor's side strain ahead of the first test against Australia.

"We're hopeful at this stage, but there's no guarantee."

Auckland City FC could face Hawke's Bay United without Joao Moreira

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Auckland City FC could face Hawke's Bay United without in-form striker Joao Moreira this Sunday.

The 29-year-old former Portugal age group international bagged a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over the Wellington Phoenix just under a week ago but missed last night's 1-0 win over Team Wellington.

Hawke's Bay United, who sit in second place on the ASB Premiership table, will feel a sense of relief if Moreira - who has netted six goals this season - is marked absent on the weekend.

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx says the punishing schedule will force a reshuffle of his starting line-up as he seeks to keep the team fresh after a run of four games in 12 days.

"Our only little injury concern is Joao Moreira but the rest of the squad is fine. We will have to assess the playing squad from last night to see how we have recovered from it.

"Whatever happens, we will have to make sure we use the personnel that will suit this type of game.

"We have to be very patient with our attacking mentality and hopefully with a bit of time we can create some opportunities," he said.

Last time the two teams met Hawke's Bay United sat very deep and invited Auckland City FC to have most of the possession. The Navy Blues went 1-0 ahead courtesy of Micah Lea'alafa but conceded a soft equaliser after a defensive mix-up late in the match.

Tribulietx knows Hawke's Bay United could adopt the same approach at Bluewater Stadium on Sunday but said the onus was on Auckland City FC to unlock their opponents defence.

"We all know Hawke's Bay United are a team that has been very well organized defensively and they like to drop very deep and make our life tough in terms of penetrating that block.

"We have to take our time and look to create chances," he said.

Hawke's Bay United have turned Bluewater Stadium into a fortress with the last defeat in league competition coming on 8 March 2015 when they fell 1-0 to WaiBOP United.

Since then the Bay have won two and drawn two at home and scored 12 goals and conceded seven. If you leave aside the freakish 5-5 draw with the Wellington Phoenix, there is a clear pattern the Brett Angell-coached side are a team on the up.

Auckland City FC have their own unbeaten run to preserve with the Navy Blues now 22 games without defeat in the ASB Premiership since January last year.

A win for the visitors would open up an eight point gap between themselves and the Bay and put them within touching distance of yet another ASB minor premiership title and the automatic OFC Champions League qualifying berth that comes with for 2017.

Three Hawke's Bay cricketers in Central Stags to meet Canterbury tomorrow

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The Devon Hotel Central Stags selectors have welcomed Nelson off spinner Martin Kain back from injury and added him to the 12 man squad that defeated the Auckland Aces earlier this week for their Qualifying Final match against Canterbury tomorrow.

The winner of this match will host the Ford Trophy Final on 30 January. The loser will host a knockout match on 27 January against the winner of the match between the Otago Volts and the Auckland Aces to be played in Invercargill tomorrow.

Devon Hotel Central Stags squad for the Ford Trophy Qualifying Final against Canterbury at Hagley Park, Christchurch:

William Young (Taranaki - Captain)

Doug Bracewell (Hawke’s Bay)

Tom Bruce (Taranaki)

Dane Cleaver (Manawatu)

Martin Kain (Nelson)

Ajaz Patel (Hawke’s Bay)

Seth Rance (Wairarapa)

Jesse Ryder (Wairarapa)

Bevan Small (Manawatu)

Ben Smith (Wanganui)

Blair Tickner (Hawke’s Bay)

George Worker (Manawatu)

Ben Wheeler (Marlborough)

The match commences at 11.00am.

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