The Bay of Plenty development cricket team will start their defence of the Basil McBurney Trophy this weekend.
The trophy is awarded to the winners of the Northern Districts Development competition, and Bay of Plenty meet long-time rivals Hamilton at the Tauranga Domain on Sunday.
This year sees Russell Williams mentoring the Bay of Plenty side for the first time. Development manager Shaun Riley is also new to the role.
A philosophy adopted by selectors to combine several battle-hardened representative players with the best young cricket talent, has again been a focus.
Bay Development captain Stephen Crossan and keeper Matt Golding have played for the Bay of Plenty senior team and know about the realities of stepping up to senior representative cricket.
At the other end of the spectrum, Western Bay of Plenty secondary school students
Dominic Crombie, Tim Pringle, Marcel Collett, Craig Baldry and Josh Earle are all making their development team debuts at Tauranga Domain.
The biggest challenge of the Basil McBurney Trophy for the Bay side is always provided by Hamilton. Last season the Waikato side chased down 212 runs with eight wickets to spare.
However, the Hamilton loss was the Bay's only defeat during the ND Development title race, with the Bay squeezing home by a solitary point over Northland, to take out the prize.
Northern Districts Development Competition 2017/18
Bay of Plenty v Hamilton at Tauranga Domain, Sunday 10.30am
Bay of Plenty Team: Stephen Crossan (captain) Josh Earle, Brody Gilroy (Te Puke) Blair McKenzie, Matt Golding (Mount Maunganui) Tim Pringle (Cadets) Marcel Collett, Dominic Crombie, Craig Baldry (Tauranga Boys College) James Boyd, Josh Ormrod (Greerton) Alastair Blackett (Rotorua). Coach: Russell Williams. Manager: Shaun Riley.