Cricket: Northland in box seat for title win

By Cameron Leslie

Northland's top cricketers have the chance this weekend to wrap up the Fergus Hickey Brian Dunning two-day competition when they play Waikato Valley at Cobham Oval.

Northland currently sits second, two points behind Bay of Plenty. However, BoP play Hamilton in the last round which will be a difficult match for them to get an outright win from. Which means Northland are in the box seat.

If Northland can claim first innings points and win outright they will be even on points with BoP. However, because Northland beat BoP earlier in the rounds, they will then go top of the table.

Northland coach Stephen Cunis said his side would go into this weekend's match as favourites, a tag which he believes is deserved.

"[We] haven't lost a game since the first one of the season," said Cunis. "A lot of sportspeople like playing the underdog card, but if you've got a good team on paper and are playing a team who isn't so great on paper, you deserve that tag.

"It's going to be good for our guys to go in knowing we can get the result our way. But it's regardless of the fact that if you can't get the basics going well then you're going to struggle." Cunis said this season his young players had stood up and made useful contributions to the team which had been a delight to watch.

"Henry Cooper has had a blinder, and Brad [Kneebone]. Although [Kneebone] hasn't scored huge runs, he has played important innings. Cody Andrews has been head and shoulders above the other bowlers.

"The young guys have really stood up, and are good fun off the field, but are respectful to Michael, Neal [both Parlanes] and myself off the field."

If Northland are to win the two-day competition, it leaves them in good stead as they look to challenge current holders BoP for the Hawk Cup, which is one of the biggest trophies available for district associations to play for.

Cunis said they are in good shape to be challengers but must continue to dominate in all forms.

- Northern Advocate

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