Bay of Plenty will start their campaign to retain the Hawke Cup early next year when they play Hawke's Bay in two one-day encounters at the Tauranga Domain tomorrow and Sunday.
While the two matches are non-competition games with caps not awarded, there is sure to be bragging rights on the line after Bay of Plenty relieved Hawke's Bay of the Hawke Cup in the last challenge of last season.
Bay of Plenty won the NZ Cricket Minor Association prize for the fifth time in Napier in March. The match was an absolute thriller, with Hawke's Bay setting Bay of Plenty a target of 205 on the afternoon of day three. Led by a Ben Musgrave century, the Bay won to bring the Hawke Cup back home.
Tomorrow the two sides will meet in a 106-over (red ball) match and will back up the following day in a 50-over (white ball) encounter.
The Bay of Plenty selectors have gone for experience, coupled with a number of promising youngsters still eligible for ND age-group tournament cricket.
Northern Knights Jono Boult and Brett Hampton know all about pressure cricket and have both racked up more than 50 games in the Bay of Plenty uniform. Saturday skipper Peter Drysdale and Sunday leader Tim Clarke are two others to earn the Bay baggy cap embroidered with the number 50.
Brenton Thompson is a new face in Baywide cricket and made a real impression for Mount Maunganui in their first Baywide Cup match. Luke Tatley and Gurwinder Singh both made their Bay of Plenty Development debuts last season, with Saturday's match another step up for the talented youngsters.
Sean Dykes, Jonty Grigson and Alastair Blackett have all made their mark in Baywide premier cricket in the last 12 months with Iman Singh, who still attends Tauranga Boys' College, another young rising star.
Bay of Plenty teams v Hawke's Bay, 10.30am start
Saturday: Peter Drysdale (c), Sean Davey, Ben Musgrave, Jono Boult, Brett Hampton, Stephen Crossan, Tim Clarke, Donavan Deeble, Campbell Thomas, Luke Tatley, Gurwinder Singh, Kyle Dovey.
Sunday: Tim Clarke (c), Sean Dykes, Cameron Neal, Brenton Thompson, Jonty Grigson, Jono Boult, Brett Hampton, Matt Golding, Alastair Blackett, Donovan Deeble, Brody Gilroy, Iman Singh.