Cricket: Central have firepower

By Greg Taipari

While some cricket fans would describe Central's last couple of seasons as a roller-coaster ride full of highs and lows, others might describe it more like a ghost ride - a continuous run of horrors.

No matter what side of the argument cricketing fans are on, the players themselves have the opportunity to set things right tomorrow, when they take on one of only two teams left in the Bay of Plenty Cup who have yet to taste defeat.

The Rotorua side host Mount Maunganui at Smallbone Park in a match the Mount will be expecting to win.

The Mount are chasing their third successive Baywide Cup season victory.

With the Baywide trophy just three years old, the Mount team have a enviable record, winning the trophy in the first two seasons before finishing runner-up to Cadets last season.

It has been a pretty tough decade for Central. After winning the Williams Cup in 2007, the Rotorua team have been plagued by inconsistent form in recent seasons.

However, the side is captained by Peter Wood, who always leads from the front, and includes class players such as Jason Trembath, Lilesh Solanki and Ben Blackett. They have more than enough firepower to topple the Mount.

After three rounds the only other team not to have lost is Greerton. The Western Bay side have had a weather-hit start to their Baywide season, playing just a sole encounter with Tauranga Boys' College. They will want to and should win their first home game of the season, against Bay of Plenty Indians. However the visitors will be seeking redemption after their meagre score in the Eastern Bay last weekend.

The Indian side took on Eastern Bay United and were decimated. Last week, Eastern Bay bowler Joel Mathews ripped through Indians' batting attack, taking 5/22, as the Rotorua team were removed for just 45. Tomorrow, Mathews will have another chance to push his team to victory, when Tauranga Boys' High School pay a visit to Rex Morepeth Park.

However, United aren't going to find Tauranga an easy pushover after they beat defending champions Cadets last weekend, splitting the Baywide competition wide open. Tauranga Boys' College teacher and team mentor Mark Orchard was the key to victory for the students when they upset Cadets last weekend. An unbeaten 107 and two key wickets with the ball saw his side through to a comfortable victory at the Tauranga Domain.

Tomorrow Cadets will endeavour to get their title aspirations back on track when they play Te Puke at the Te Puke Domain.

There is a real rivalry which has developed between the two Western Bay premier teams over the years. While Cadets have had the ascendancy in recent seasons, no team has won more Baywide titles than the Te Puke Cricket Club.

Both sides have quality leadership, with the two captains able to draw on a wealth of representative and premier cricket experience and knowledge. Cadets are led by current Bay skipper Jono Boult while Tai Bridgeman-Raison posted nine games for the Bay a few seasons ago.

Baywide Cup premier draw: Central v Mount Maunganui, Smallbone Park; Te Puke v Element IMF Cadets, Te Puke Domain; East Bay United v Tauranga Boys' College, Rex Morepeth Park; Eves Realty Greerton v Bay of Plenty Indians, Pemberton Park.


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