Cricket: Contenders fire up their bats

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Te Puke's Tai Bridgman-Raison is second on the Williams Cup batting standings ahead of tomorrow's semifinals.
Te Puke's Tai Bridgman-Raison is second on the Williams Cup batting standings ahead of tomorrow's semifinals.

It is a big weekend for the last four contenders in the 2016 Williams Cup.

Two teams from tomorrow's play have to back up on Sunday to find the second finalist to battle out Baywide cricket's big prize on Easter Friday.

The Williams Cup and Attrill Cup are the two oldest Bay of Plenty cricket trophies with the Williams Cup first won by City Cricket Club from Rotorua in the 1932/33 season.

Top qualifier Carrus Mount Maunganui will host New World Te Puke, who took second spot in the qualifying rounds, in the major semifinal at Blake Park. The minor semifinal will be fought between the two sides which finished third and fourth on the preliminary standings, with Element IMF Cadets at home at the Tauranga Domain to Eves Realty Greerton.

The winner of the major semifinal will advance to the Williams Cup Grand Final on March 25 at the Bay Oval. The other final berth will be decided between the loser of the major semifinal and winner of the minor semifinal on Sunday.

A batting duel could take place between Mount Maunganui and Te Puke on the new wicket adjacent to the Mount Rugby Club at Blake Park with the two top run scorers in the Williams Cup in a head to head batting battle.

Bay of Plenty captain Peter Drysdale has been a prolific run scorer for Mount Maunganui and leads the Williams Cup batting stakes with 317 runs. A highest score of 131no and an average of 104 testifies to a genuine match winner with the bat.

Te Puke's Tai Bridgman-Raison is second on the Williams Cup batting standings with 266 runs with a season-best score of 122. He equalled ADG (Andy) Roberts long standing record of ten Te Puke premier centuries when he blasted a ton against Mount Maunganui in February.

Cadets host Greerton with the winner still alive in the 2016 Williams Cup title race. The score between the two sides in Baywide cricket this season is one win apiece. In the Baywide Cup, Greerton bowled Cadets out for 103 and got home with seven wickets to spare. The Williams Cup qualifying match-up saw Greerton removed for 111 with Cadets posting a five wicket win.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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