Baywide cricket: Can one side reign supreme?

For cricket lovers October not only brings daylight saving but also the start of the much-anticipated new season.

In the past few weeks cobwebs have been dusted off bats and balls, in readiness for the start of the new Bay of Plenty cricket season on artificial wickets tomorrow.

Last season was unusual in that not one premier team dominated, with the three pieces of Baywide silverware shared among three Western Bay teams.

Otumoetai Cadets made the early running by winning the 110-overs per day Baywide Cup with an unbeaten record.

Greerton then broke a 27-year drought between celebrating Williams Cup victories when they squeezed home against Cadets in the title decider at the BOP Cricket Oval last March.

A new competition to gain a positive response was the inaugural T20 championship which was played when players were away on Bay of Plenty representative duty. Two teams who didn't have players in the Bay senior men's side battled out the final, and Tauranga Boys' College beat Rotorua Central to claim the inaugural title.

The first competition to kick off is the Baywide Cup tomorrow, which involves eight Bay of Plenty premier teams. Defending titleholders Otumoetai Cadets will be looking to retain the title and the champion of champions Hart Family Trophy.

Cadets will again be led by Bay skipper Jono Boult and start with a match-up against BOP Indians on the artificial surface at Ferguson Park.

The debut for Cadets by former Canterbury allrounder Corey Anderson, who will play for Northern Districts, will be of interest. The 20-year-old left-arm swing bowler and aggressive batsman played for Canterbury aged just 16 and is seen as a potential Black Cap.

While the form book would suggest Cadets should have little trouble starting the season with a clear-cut victory, the Rotorua visitors have a bowler who made a big impression last season. Jayvant Dhanjee produced the best bowling figures in the Williams Cup, grabbing 6-32, so he will be keen to impress early on.

Mount Maunganui have had a change in their on-field leadership, with club stalwart Mark Divehall in charge for the first time.

Divehall is a hard-hitting batsman who has a number of centuries to his name and is sure to lead from the front.

Mount Maunganui are at home on the Blake Park artificial surface to East Bay United, who sometimes run hot and cold. Much will depend on the form of their big-hitting batsman Alex Yates.

Te Puke hold the record for most Williams Cup victories and have a team that could trouble the favourites. Charles Williams, who puts bat to ball with real enthusiasm, has joined the team and will assist Pete Swan with his coaching duties, with Tai Bridgeman-Raison again captain.

The Te Puke contenders have a tough first-up challenge when they travel to square off against Rotorua Central on Boord Park's artificial pitch. While Central have fallen off the pace in the last few seasons, the return of Bay representatives Jason Trembath and Ben Blackett will strengthen the Rotorua team.

The Greerton and Tauranga Boy's College game has been deferred for two weeks with Tauranga Boys' on tour in Queensland.

BOPCA Baywide Cup Premier draw October 6

Otumoetai Cadets v BOP Indians, Ferguson artificial; Mount Maunganui v East Bay United, Blake Park artificial; Central v Te Puke, Boord Park artificial; Tauranga Boys College v Greerton to be played later.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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