Cricket: Semifinalists taking shape in Cup title race

By Barry Leabourn

Potential semifinalists have emerged in the Williams Cup with two rounds remaining of the Baywide competition.

Te Puke and Cadets held on to their unbeaten records, with Mt Maunganui and Greerton cementing their place in the top four.

Batting first at the Te Puke Domain against Rotorua Central, the home side set a very defendable target when they were dismissed for 207. Associate coach Charles Williams led the way with a solid 57, with Steven Crossan (40) and skipper Tai Bridgeman-Raison (32) both getting good starts. Bay Development bowler Ben Blackett bowled with real enthusiasm to grab a five-wicket bag for Central.

The visitors made a good start in their pursuit of victory, with Blackett backing up his bowling performance to top score with 48. Jeremy Bates was in fine touch with the ball, returning 3/34, while Sean Gibson and Josh Dwight took two wickets apiece as Te Puke cruised to a 44-run victory.

In spite of an unbeaten knock of 77 from Tauranga Boys' College player/coach Mark Orchard, the visitors to Blake Park struggled against Mount Maunganui's bowling attack. However two rear guard partnerships that featured Orchard - with James Boyd and then Tom Wakelin - produced 66 bonus runs, as the students reached a respectable 157 all out.

Mount Maunganui batsmen ripped into action and were quickly ahead of the required run rate, with Mark Divehall smashing the ball all around Blake Park, to be rewarded with a sparkling 74. Ben Guild took his team to a six-wicket victory, posting an unbeaten 38, as Mount Maunganui cemented third equal place in the Williams Cup title race.

Element IMF Cadets had an early finish at Smallbone Park in Rotorua, as they maintained their 2013 unbeaten run in the Williams Cup. BOP Indians spent little time at the batting crease as they were removed for just 89, with the Cadets wickets being shared around. Ben Christensen took 3/9 and Corey Anderson, returning to cricket from a broken thumb, took 2/16. Cadets opening batsman Ben Jensen strode to the wicket and immediately went on attack, to take his team to victory with a quick fire 77 not out.

Defending Williams Cup champions Eves Realty Greerton got their title defence back on track when they beat East Bay United in Whakatane. The visitors batted first and posted 225 all out, with Cameron Neal top scoring with 78 and captain Shane Wineti making 56. Joel Mathews grabbed a five wicket bag, with stalwart Steven Ford taking 3-11 off his 10 overs.

A concentrated Greerton bowling attack paid dividends as the home side were removed for 142. Mike Young top scored with 29, with Wineti backing up his half century with three wickets.

Bay of Plenty cricket results Williams Cup

Tauranga Boys' College 157 (Mark Orchard 77no; Mike Jones 4/22, Alex Gooding 3/35) lost to Mount Maunganui 161/4 (Mark Divehall 74, Ben Guild 38no; M Orchard 2/24, James Boyd 2/27)

BOP Indians 89 (Ben Christensen 3/9, Scott Steward 2/13, Corey Anderson 2/16, James Birchall 2/21) lost to Element IMF Cadets 90/0 (Ben Jensen 77no)

Eves Realty Greerton 225 (Cameron Neal 78, Shane Wineti 56; Joel Mathews 5/43, Steven Ford 3/11) defeated East Bay United 142 (Mike Young 29, Hugh Adin 24; S Wineti 3/32, Murray Jarvis 2/29, Murray Earl 2/31, Scott Drabble 2/40)

Te Puke 207 (Charles Williams 57, Steven Crossan 40, Tai Bridgeman-Raison 32; Ben Blackett 5/42, C Thompson 3/35) defeated Central 163 (B Blackett 48, Jared Christoffersen 29, Jason Trembath 20; Jeremy Bates 3/34, Sean Gibson 2/33, Josh Dwight 2/38)

Williams Cup points table

Te Puke 33, Cadets 31, Mount Maunganui 21, Greerton 21, East Bay United 15, Central 9, Tauranga Boys' College 9, BOP Indians 3.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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