Greerton captain Shane Wineti. PHOTO/FILE
The new Baywide premier cricket competition starts tomorrow with a blockbuster clash between last year's champions Greerton and arch rivals Cadets at Mitchell Park.
The competition has been dominated by Western Bay teams in recent years, but that might not be the case this season with Rotorua Central and Bay of Plenty Indians combing forces to produce a potent Rotorua team.
The competition is likely to produce extremely competitive cricket, with all six sides in contention for the Baywide silverware.
A new format means both the Baywide and Williams Cup will be fought out over two rounds each, with each side playing home and away in both title races.
"With six strong sides in this season's two Baywide competitions we expect every game to be extremely competitive,'' said Greerton captain Shane Wineti. ''However, if we are able to play at a high standard and maintain consistency week in week out, we fancy our chances in both the Baywide Cup and Williams Cups.
"Cameron Neal, Tom MacRury and myself all had successful seasons abroad in the UK. All three of us will be looking to bring that form home for the summer.
"Daniel Spencer has been the heart and soul of our bowling attack over the last few years with Campbell Thomas and James Boyd playing major roles with the ball throughout the summer."
Te Puke start their Baywide season campaign with a replay of the 2015/16 Williams Cup against Mount Maunganui at Blake Park.
"The 2016/17 season is going to be another exciting one for the Te Puke premier side, with more young blood coming through the ranks with Cam Riley, Daniel Price and Josh Earl all endeavouring to make a impact with bat and ball," said Te Puke skipper Stephen Crossan.
"Tai Bridgman-Raison is looking to surpass Andy Roberts' record of premier centuries for Te Puke premiers, with Jonty Grigson looking to kick on after collecting the BOPCA Most Promising Player award at prizegiving.
"Alex Gooding, Brody Gilroy and Christian MacDonald, who all played a big part in our team winning the Williams Cup, will spearhead our bowling attack."
Otumoetai Cadets proved the most consistent team in last year's Baywide competitions and were rewarded with the presentation of the Hart Family Trophy Champion of Champions prize at BOPCA prizegiving.
Cadets won the T20 competition, were runners-up in the Baywide Cup and finished in the Williams Cup. While the T20 competition won't be played this season, the Tauranga Domain-based side will be a real force to be reckoned with throughout the season.
While Tauranga Boys' College have won the Williams Cup and the T20 competition in the last decade, their greatest contribution to Bay of Plenty Cricket is the school pathway, that had produced recent Black Caps in Kane Williamson and Daniel Flynn.
"Obviously we are hoping to make the top four in both competitions and it would be great if we can knock over one or two of last year's top of four in the two competitions," said joint player/coach Charles Williams
"We are hoping that our Year 13 school leavers can have a big impact before they head for club cricket after the holiday season break. Josh Ormrod and Sean Wakelin have both had good seasons in inter-school cricket with the bat.
"Fellow player/coach Tim Clarke, who was Bay of Plenty Cricket Representative Player of the Year last season, is a key element in our batting attack, while the new additions to our 1st XI in Marcel Collett, Rhys Mischewski and Iman Singh are exciting prospects who are all involved in the ND age-group programmes".
Andrew Gibbs, who would share the Central Indians captaincy with Shonit Chandra, said the amalgamation of the two Rotorua premier teams to form Central Indians had produced a very competitive side.
"We have around 18 players in our initial squad which will produce plenty of competition for places in the team.
"Along with the backbone of the last year's Central side, Indian players such as co-captain Shonit Chandra and Rohan and Himesh Gosai give the team plenty of firepower.
"An added bonus is that we are likely to have Northern Knights batsman Bharat Popli available for a number of matches"
Mount Maunganui had won the Hart Family Trophy, which is awarded to the Baywide Champion of Champions each season, on seven occasions since the award was introduced nine years ago.
The Mount premier team have cemented their place as one of the real heavyweights of Baywide cricket over the years, with little likely to change this season.
"Essentially we have the same squad as last year with a couple of new players floating around,'' said captain Dale Swan.
"The team is looking to build from last year and with the same core group of guys with a mountain of experience, will help us work to bring the two Baywide trophies back to our club this season."
Bay of Plenty Cricket Association Baywide Championship fixtures October 8
Greerton v Otumoetai Cadets, at Mitchell Park.
Te Puke v Mount Maunganui at Blake Park.
Central Indians v Tauranga Boys' College at Fergusson Park.
Games due to start at noon.
BOPCA Baywide Team Details 2016/17
Carrus Mount Maunganui
Home Ground: Blake Park
2015/16 Top Four Finishes: Runner-up Williams Cup, Fourth Baywide Cup
Player Gains: Essentially the same squad of players as last season
Player Losses: Nil
Captain: Dale Swan
Eves Realty Greerton
Home Ground: Pemberton Park
2015/16 Top Four Finishes: Baywide Cup - Winner Baywide Cup, Fourth Williams Cup
Player Gains: Jared Tutty (Tauranga Boys' College) Marcus Niles
Player Losses: Kent Hodder, Josh Bates, Tommy Clout (injury)
Captain: Shane Wineti
New World Te Puke
Home Ground: Te Puke Domain
2015/16 Top Four Finishes': Winner Williams Cup, Third Baywide Cup
Player Gains: Daniel Elyashiv (Tauranga Boys' College)
Player Losses: Scott Tallott
Captain: Stephen Crossan Coach: Peter Swan
Element IMF Cadets
Home Ground: Tauranga Domain
2015/16 Top Four Finishes: Third Williams Cup, Runner-up Baywide Cup
Player Gains: Gurwinder Singh (TBC)
Player Losses: Alex Oakley, James Birchall
Captain: Scott Steward
Bayleys Central Indians
Home Ground: Smallbone Park/Boord Park
Co-Captain: Shonit Chandra, Andrew Gibbs.
Cooney Lees Morgan Tauranga Boys' College
Home Ground: Nicholson Field
2014/15 Top Four Finishes: Fourth equal Williams Cup
Player Gains: Marcel Collett, Rhys Mischewski, Iman Singh (from TBC pathway)
Player Losses: Kamal Bains, Gurwinder Singh, Daniel Elyashiv
Player/Coaches: Charles Williams & Tim Clarke