Cricket: Second round there for the taking

By Greg Taipari

When it comes to cricket, Rees Uerata is a man who stands out. Towering at 185cm and 125kg, Uerata can be a menace with both bat and ball.

As a batsman, the 32-year-old knows only one way, all or nothing. The hard-hitting right-hander has a good eye and usually has no trouble finding the boundary. Uerata has opened the batting for Central in the past but this year, his first as captain, he has elected to bat middle to lower order.

Rightly so, when you consider the team has lost only two games this season with most of their top order scoring half-centuries and setting reasonable totals for their bowlers to defend.

When it comes to bowling, Uerata's right-arm medium-pacers have also help his side eke out the odd wicket when they have needed it.

Although his side were beaten by the Taupo Wanderers in their last round of the Rotorua Reserve Grade limited-overs competition, they managed to win the Rotorua T20 competition, something he said has fired up in his team.

"We had quite a good night after that last win and for some of those young fellas, they've never actually won a round before and so for them they just can't wait to get started for the next [round] and move forward."

The reserve grade gets underway again this Saturday with a limited-overs series minus the college team. Uerata said the team were keen to continue their winning ways.

Uerata, a childcare worker at Rotorua's Early birds Educare Kea Centre, said it was important for the team not to get complacent in the second half of the season and he was expecting his senior members to step up over the next few weeks.

"I just think when it comes down to it, we've got some pretty good guys [in the team]. But there are some weeks, as it showed in the last round, if guys are unavailable through work it really puts a lot of pressure on some of the other senior guys.

"When you're playing with half [of your regular team], it can make it really difficult and I think it showed. But when everyone is there, we can beat anybody. But that would go for most teams in this competition."

Uerata said the first half of the competition showed any of the teams were capable of winning the next round.

The college sides will now play in the college Baywide competition while the four senior teams - Central, Indians, Geyser City and Taupo Wanderers - will play a round robin series.

Uerata said he was keen to see the college teams return to play against the senior sides.

"It definitely showed with the high schools coming in that there is not a big gap between the senior reserves and the high school teams. So I think having them play [at our level] will only build cricket in Rotorua ... they are competitive so hopefully once they leave school they know there are some great clubs in Rotorua and they come and play."

The Post Rotorua Senior Reserves draw for this Saturday will see Central take on Geyser while the Indians will play Taupo Wanderers. Both matches are at Ray Boord Park from 12.30pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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