Defending Williams Cup titleholders Eves Realty Greerton will face their second big test of the 2013 Baywide Championship when they square off with Element IMF Cadets at the Tauranga Domain tomorrow.
Cadets have won nine Williams Cup titles since 1995, which testifies to the impact that the Tauranga Domain-based team have made in the pinnacle competition of Baywide cricket.
When the chips are down near the end of the Williams Cup title race, Cadets usually show their self-belief to fight their way into the playoffs.
Long-time Cadets Premier team member Campbell Wilson showed that he was as dangerous as ever at the bowling crease, when he took a six-wicket bag against East Bay United at the Tauranga Domain last weekend. The former Bay representative, who has dabbled with spin, has returned to medium pace with real success.
While Greerton has struggled with consistency against Cadets in recent seasons, they have beaten their archrivals on the last two occasions they have met. Greerton won the 2012 Williams Cup final against Cadets, then backed up in this season's Baywide Cup to again defeat their near neighbours.
The Greerton top order have come of age this season, with openers Kent Hodder and Suhkdeep Sidhu in good form and there are few better number threes in Baywide cricket than Bay Development batsman Elliot Timoti.
Te Puke sit at the top of the Williams Cup standings after an unbeaten start to the title race for the long-time winners of Baywide silverware. However they will receive a real challenge to their undefeated start, when Mount Maunganui pays a visit to the Te Puke Domain tomorrow.
Te Puke bowler Jeremy Bates showed his all-round abilities when he blasted 134 not out against BOP Indians in Rotorua last weekend. While Mount Maunganui will be without Tony Goodin, who is on Northern Knights duty, they will welcome back Peter Drysdale and Dale Swan from the Bay of Plenty team who won the Hawke Cup last weekend.
The winner of the East Bay United and Central clash at Rex Morpeth Park in the Eastern Bay of Plenty will advance up the standings, as both sides sit together on the table with a one win and two loss record.
While BOP Indians and Tauranga Boys' College sit at the bottom of the points ladder, they both have a couple of match-winners in their ranks, with their encounter in the Sulphur City likely to go down to the wire.
Meanwhile, the McNaughton Trophy played for by Bay of Plenty reserve grade sides begins on Sunday and will continue every fortnight until the final on March 17.
The addition of BOP Indians and Rotorua's Geyser City has resulted in a preliminary round of play this Sunday with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals.
However, the new entrants will have no easy time in their debuts. Geyser Cricket Club will host 2008 McNaughton champions Greerton at Smallbone Park. Greerton sit just outside the top four of the Western Bay Reserve Grade title race and are likely to present a strong line-up at Smallbone Park on Sunday. BOP Indians travel to play Te Puke at the picturesque Te Puke Domain. While the Te Puke second team had a far from memorable time in last year's Western Bay competitions, they have undergone a renaissance this season and currently sit in second place on the standings.
Williams Cup 2 February 2013
Element IMF Cadets v Eves Realty Greerton, Tauranga Domain; BOP Indians v Tauranga Boys College, Smallbone Park; Te Puke v Mount Maunganui, Te Puke Domain; East Bay United v Central, Rex Morpeth Park.
Williams Cup Points Table
Te Puke 20 Cadets 19, Mount Maunganui 14, Greerton 12, East Bay United 8, Central 8, Tauranga Boys College 2, BOP Indians 2.
McNaughton Trophy 3 February
Geyser CC v Greerton, Smallbone Park; Te Puke v BOP Indians, Te Puke Domain