Defending Williams Cup champions Eves Realty Greerton laid down a challenge to the other contenders in the opening round of the 2013 Baywide competition, when they comprehensively defeated Baywide heavyweights Mount Maunganui last weekend.
After blasting 321/5, with Brett Hampton smashing 125 in Greerton's big total, the Greerton bowlers removed Mount Maunganui for just 88 to lay down the gauntlet in the historic Baywide competition.
Tomorrow Greerton are back up at Pemberton Park, where they will face Te Puke, who also opened their Williams Cup account with a win. While Te Puke got past East Bay United at Te Puke's headquarters, they were made to work hard at the batting crease for victory. After the Eastern Bay side were removed for 110, the home side lost seven wickets before claiming the winning points.
The two other unbeaten teams will meet at Smallbone Park in Rotorua, where Central will be at home to Tauranga Domain-based Element IMF Cadets. A welcome return to form by Cadets batsman Ben Christensen, who belted 107 against Tauranga Boys' College, propelled his team to a comfortable first-up victory last week.
Two half centuries, by Peter Wood and Cameron Payne, played a big part in Central's win in the Rotorua derby against BOP Indians. However the Rotorua representatives will need to be at their best to beat off the challenge from Cadets who have both a strong batting and bowling lineup, laden with rep players.
Tauranga Boys' College will again have the home ground advantage, when East Bay United pay a visit to Nicholson Field. In recent seasons honours have been fairly evenly shared between the two sides, with the game likely to go down to the wire.
While Mount Maunganui will be heavily favoured to beat BOP Indians, the Rotorua team has a master blaster in Bharat Popli, who could make life difficult for the Mount bowlers. Popli, who previously wore the Mount uniform, has been in dynamic form with the bat, smashing his record fifth Bay of Plenty representative century last Sunday.
Williams Cup Draw 19 January
Tauranga Boys College v East Bay United, Nicholson Field; Eves Realty Greerton v Te Puke, Pemberton Park; Mount Maunganui v BOP Indians, Blake1; Central v Element IMF Cadets, Smallbone Park.
Williams Cup Points
Cadets 6, Te Puke 6, Central 6, Greerton 6, Mount Maunganui 0, Tauranga Boys' College 0, BOP Indians 0, East Bay United 0.