Te Puke's Tai picked to skipper BOP team

By Peter White

Rep cricket

Bay of Plenty have a new captain to replace Jono Boult for Sunday's Fergus Hickey one day game against Waikato Valley at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.

Tai Bridgeman-Raison, the current Te Puke Premier captain, cemented a berth in the Bay side in the early 2000s, with the last of his nine games coming in 2005 before travel and education studies saw him drop out of the local cricket scene.

However, he returned to Baywide cricket a couple of seasons ago and the Te Puke skipper's leadership this season has seen the dynamic batsman return to the form that earned Bay of Plenty selection nearly a decade ago.

With Bay of Plenty skipper Jono Boult again on Northern Knights duty, the Bay selectors have chosen a proven leader and a player in real form with the bat. In the last Baywide game before the holiday break, the Te Puke master blaster smashed 107 not out to showcase his outstanding early season form.

Three Fergus Hickey Rosebowl victories in the past four years testify to the success of the Bay of Plenty cricket pathway. The measured introduction of new talent into the ranks of experience brings together a quality pool of players for selection.

Two promising bowlers will make their Bay of Plenty debut in the one-day encounter against the Waikato Valley side, who were unable to play this "home game" for them at Cambridge as the ground was unavailable.

Te Puke's Jeremy Bates gives the team extra options with his left arm medium pace, while Greerton's Campbell Thomas is also a quality medium pacer. Both youngsters were members of the Bay Development side that easily dispatched their Waikato Valley counterparts in a Basil McBurney representative fixture in November.

Experience in spades is provided with the selection of Northern Knights pace bowler Graeme Aldridge. ND's top wicket taker in first class cricket has played 43 games for the Bay, interspersed with his Northern Knights commitments, and will add an extra dimension to the Bay bowling attack.

BOP Team v Waikato Valley, Bay Oval, Sunday, January 13

Tai Bridgeman-Raison (captain), Peter Drysdale, Joe Carter, Brett Hampton, Bharat Popli, Scott Steward, Alex Yates, Tim Clarke, Jeremy Bates, Tony Goodin, Dale Swan, Campbell Thomas, Graeme Aldridge (one to be omitted).

Big Tower back for Northern Knights

The SkyCity Northern Knights have named former Black Cap Daryl Tuffey in their HRV Cup team to play two matches this weekend, starting with tonight's match at Seddon Park against the Canterbury Wizards and then Wellington Firebirds in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

Tuffey, universally known as Tower, returns to the Knights after five seasons playing for the Auckland Aces. Prior to the stint with the Aces, Tuffey played 33 first class matches for the Knights and a large number of internationals from the 1996/97 to 2006/07 seasons.

The big pace bowler is a welcome acquisition and his form in Sydney club cricket should help offset the loss of two key players for the Knights. His performances in the HRV Cup in previous years have reaped him significant success.

Scott Styris (hamstring) and Corey Anderson (broken thumb) have been ruled out of the Knights. The Knights now have eight players unavailable, with Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee joining Styris and Anderson on the sideline with injuries. Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Daniel Flynn and BJ Watling are all in South Africa with the Black Caps. While the Knights are now relying on their depth of talent as they push for a finals spot and an elusive HRV Cup title, they still have five former internationals to call on and have positioned themselves well leading into the final week of the competition.

The team is:

James Marshall (c) Northland, Brent Arnel Counties Manukau, Jono Boult Bay of Plenty, Steven Croft Overseas Player, Anton Devcich Hamilton, James Foster Overseas Player, Daryl Mitchell Hamilton, Bradley Scott Hamilton, Ish Sodhi Counties Manukau, Daryl Tuffey Counties Manukau, Anurag Verma Waikato Valley, Brad Wilson Northland.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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