Bay of Plenty face a big challenge in their Fergus Hickey Rosebowl match-up with Northland at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui today and tomorrow.
Bay of Plenty coach Graeme Aldridge says Northland will definitely be a bigger challenge than Poverty Bay two weeks ago.
"They are always well drilled with a lot of good players. The team is tracking well and we will be doing our best to compete with a good Northland side."
The visitors from the Far North will still be smarting after letting Bay of Plenty off the hook last year when their game finished in a draw. Northland looked to be in the box seat in Whangarei declaring at 326/6, but failed to bowl the visitors out on the second day.
Following on from the debut of three under-19 players against Poverty Bay, Jared Tutty in his first season out of Tauranga Boys' College will make his Bay of Plenty senior men's team debut against Northland.
"We are aware that while we are always trying to win games, we also need to give younger guys the opportunity to develop. I think we can do both [win and develop] which is why we try and have a balance of youth and experience," Aldridge said.
"With some of our experienced players away on Northern Knights duty this weekend, it presents opportunities for others to showcase their skills. We have tried to balance it out by bringing in some experience with Alex Gooding and also give Jared Tutty his first game for the Bay."
Experience is provided by skipper Peter Drysdale and Jono Boult.
The Bay of Plenty captain made his Bay of Plenty debut at the ND One-Day tournament in November 2009. Drysdale will become just the fourth Bay of Plenty player to reach 70 games for his province when he walks out on to the Bay Oval on Saturday.
Boult, who has mixed his Bay of Plenty appearances with Northern Knights duty, played his first Bay of Plenty First XI match in the 2003/04 season. Wicketkeeper Tim Clarke has passed the 50-game milestone in the Bay of Plenty uniform, while Tom MacRury celebrated his 35th game for the Bay against Poverty Bay with his third century in the Bay colours.
Bay of Plenty team v Northland
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, November 26-27(Bay of Plenty caps in brackets)
Peter Drysdale (capt 69), Ben Musgrave (19), Mount Maunganui; Jono Boult (67), Sean Davey (26), Gurwinder Singh (1) Cadets; Tom MacRury (35), Jared Tutty (debut), Greerton; Tim Clarke (57), Iman Singh (1), Tauranga Boys' College; Stephen Crossan (5), Alex Gooding (2), Te Puke; Alastair Blackett (1) Rotorua. Coach: Graeme Aldridge, Manager Wayne Brill.