Rotorua/Taupo 40-over cricket returns this weekend - and picking a winner in the post-Christmas senior reserve grade competition is no easy task.

Central Cricket Club are the defending champions, having won the pre-Christmas competition. Beaten finalists Geyser City John Paul College Old Boys will be desperate for redemption and showed their intent by winning two from two Twenty20 matches last weekend.

The Bay of Plenty Indians are in hot form after successfully defending their New Zealand Indian Sports Association cricket title earlier this month before also winning two from two T20s.

Meanwhile, last year's semifinalists Lake Taupo Cricket Club, as well as Geyser City Western Heights High School and Taupo Old Boys 1 and 2 have as much right as anyone to go all the way.

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Central captain Paul Wyllie said his players were "champing at the bit" to defend their title.

"I made some pretty bold statements at the end of last year about how we are the best team in the competition when all our players are available. We're looking forward to getting the chance to back that statement up with some results.

"The team's looking a bit different, this weekend we've got five changes from the team that won the final in December, including two guys making their debut. The start of the season is a good time to blood some new players and bring some other guys through, effectively giving us a bigger pool to choose from at the business end of the season," Wyllie said.

Geyser City Western Heights High School Old Boys' Richie Downs plays a shot against Geyser City John Paul College Old Boys. Photo / File
Geyser City Western Heights High School Old Boys' Richie Downs plays a shot against Geyser City John Paul College Old Boys. Photo / File

Bay of Plenty Indians captain Shonit Chandra said despite wet weather disrupting practices, his players were in good form.

"They batted and bowled well in the Twenty20 games, the guys did a great job," Chandra said.

Bay of Plenty Indians lost in the semifinal to Geyser JPC at the end of last year and Chandra said the loss taught him to let his players play their natural game.

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"I would say it was my wrong decision, I didn't let them play their natural game. There was lots of pressure on the boys, it was a semifinal and I told them to stay calm and relax but it wasn't their way. This time I'm not forcing anything, let them play their natural game and they will do the job," he said.

Geyser JPC captain Manny Kumar said making the final was a good achievement for a young team playing together for the first time.

"We're all looking forward to it, all the boys are pretty happy with the performance last season so they're all excited to start again and start fresh.

"We did well to win both our games [in the T20], so that's a good start. The Twenty20 is always fun and a good way to get going after Christmas and New Years - a couple of wins always helps," Kumar said.

Despite losing last year's final, he said it was a valuable experience.

"Every game you play, you're always learning. I think most of the guys were playing in their first final, so this season, if we get back to that stage, the boys are a bit more experienced and know what to do in the big games," he said.

Rotorua/Taupo senior reserve grade cricket - post-Christmas round one
All games start at 1pm Saturday

Geyser WHHS Old Boys v Taupo Old Boys 1, Ray Boord 1
Geyser JPC Old Boys v Lake Taupo Cricket Club 2nd XI, Ray Boord 2
Central CC v Bay of Plenty Indians, Smallbone
Taupo Old Boys 2, bye