A doubleheader of Attrill Cup matches played over the weekend in perfect weather conditions, proved to be the ideal trial for the Bay of Plenty team set to defend the Fergus Hickey Rosebowl.
The new Bay team will be announced in the Bay of Plenty Times tomorrow.
The grass pitches prepared at Matua's Fergusson Park by groundsman and Bay selector Cameron Burns were quite outstanding for this time of the year, enabling the quicker bowlers to bend their backs and get some good pace and movement, while the batsmen relished the opportunity to play their strokes.
The historic Attrill Cup now has a new home for the season following the weekend's matches, with Tauranga taking out the title despite being upset by Eastern Bay of Plenty in round three played yesterday.
Tauranga batted first against the 2011 Attrill Cup titleholders, with the Eastern Bay bowlers going on attack from the opening ball. Tauranga were dismissed for a relatively modest 131, with skipper Jono Boult top scoring with 32 and number 10 batsman Tommy Clout mounting a rear guard action that produced 27 runs.
Former Bay rep bowler Dean Butterworth took three wickets while Joel Mathews and Campbell Thomas chimed in with two wickets each.
Eastern Bay took a measured approach to the run chase for victory, with Scott Steward setting up a good start with a solid 35. Butterworth continued his influence on the game posting an unbeaten 24 runs.
In the other match yesterday, the combined Mount Maunganui and Te Puke team posted a big win over Rotorua.
The combined side mustered 190-9, with Tai Bridgeman-Raison, Jeremy Bates and Mitch McCann all posting scores in the thirties. Prashant Dhanjee grabbed three wickets for Rotorua.
Mount Maunganui quick bowler Tony Goodin did the damage with the ball, as Rotorua were dismissed for just 86.
Jason Trembath was the only Rotorua batsmen to reach the twenties, with Jeremy Bates backing up his solid batting performance with two wickets.
While both Tauranga and the combined team finished the round-robin competition with two wins apiece, Tauranga won the 2012 Attrill Cup by virtue of defeating the combined side in round two.
On Saturday, New Zealand Under-19 players Sean Davey and Joe Carter played a major role in Tauranga defeating arch rivals Mount Maunganui and Te Puke.
The combined team elected to bat first, only to see their top order dismissed cheaply, and at 69-5 they were in some trouble.
Te Puke allrounder Mitch McCann steadied the ship with a fighting half century.
Batting at eight, Jeremy Bates carried on his side's renaissance with 28, before Daniel Hill posted a quick fire 40 to assist his team through to 191 all out.
Davey troubled all the opposition batsmen during his 10 overs and finished with his side's best bowling figures of three wickets at a cost of just 19 runs.
Davey is over a slight side strain that slowed his preparation after the World Cup and has ear marked this season to make his move hopefully into the full Northern Districts Knights team at some stage.
"This was our first game on a grass wicket and I was feeling all right and it was coming out pretty nice," Davey said.
"Bay of Plenty games are next and hopefully I can make the team and perform well for them. This season I would love to get a run for the ND A team and maybe push for a spot in the Knights. I have been in the extended training squad since we got back from the World Cup so hopefully I can reach that goal."
The Tauranga victory was finished off by an outstanding batting performance from Davey's Cadets teammate Carter. The NZ Under-19 opener was in a positive mindset and led his side to a seven-wicket victory with a superb 89 not out.
Carter showed he is one of the best players of the short ball going around in his boundary-laden innings. Note to bowlers - pitch it up to Carter in this sort of form.
Another youngster to make his mark was Tauranga Boys' College batsmen Tom MacRury with a solid knock of 40.
In the other game played on Saturday, Rotorua bounced back from their narrow loss to the Tauranga representatives the previous week, to comfortably defeat Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Eastern Bay were removed for 140 in the 47th over, with Alex Yates 32 and Scott Steward 20 the major contributors. Jason Trembath returned 3-32 with Prashant Dhanjee and Ben Watkinson grabbing two wickets apiece.
Julian Danby anchored the Rotorua team's six wicket victory with a solid 49, while skipper Peter Woods was in good touch finishing with 31. Eastern Bay late replacement James Boyd took two wickets.
New Bay of Plenty coach Ben Williams has taken over from James Pamment, who has stepped up to be assistant coach of the Northern Knights, and Williams says the weekend matches were the perfect opportunity for players to show what they have to offer.
"The boys have been inside all winter so it is good to see where the skill sets are at and how the boys who have been overseas are at too. The local guys have been working hard over the winter with our conditioning coach Diego Rosenberg, who has been really good and has put some really excellent cricket specific stuff together.
"The professional players in Corey [Anderson] and Brett Hampton are looking sharp, while Jono [Boult] didn't get a contract but he is the best shape he's been in his career. Shaun Davey and Joe Carter have been in a professional environment with the NZ Under-19s.
"Overall I think the guys are in pretty good nick. We had a great practice on Thursday and James [Pamment] installed a great culture and I am going to look to continue that really.
"So it is great to get some quality encounters together which has been ideal preparation ahead of moving to Taupo for the Fergus Hickey [November 11-13] and seeking the Hawke Cup Challenge, which is what we are about this season."
Cricket - Attrill Cup results
Mount Maunganui-Te Puke 191 (Mitch McCann 50, Daniel Hill 40, Jeremy Bates 28; Sean Davey 3/19, Jono Boult 2/46) lost to Tauranga 192/3 (Joe Carter 89no, Tom MacRury 40)
Eastern Bay of Plenty 140 (Alex Yates 32, Scott Steward 20; Jason Trembath 3/32, Ben Watkinson 2/8, Prashant Dhanjee 2/20) lost to Rotorua 141/4 (Julian Danby 49 Peter Woods 31; James Boyd 2/27)
Tauranga 131 (Jono Boult 32, Tommy Clout 27; Dean Butterworth 3/48, Campbell Thomas 2/17 Joel Mathews 2/33) lost to Eastern Bay of Plenty 132/4 (Scott Steward 35, D Butterworth 24no; J Boult 2/23)
Mount Maunganui/Te Puke 190/9 (Tai Bridgeman-Raison 34, Jeremy Bates 36, Mitch McCann 30; Prashant Dhanjee 3/33, Ben Blackett 2/47) defeated Rotorua 86 (Jason Trembath 24; Tong Goodin 4/30, J Bates 2/26)