Old enemies go to battle

By Greg Taipari, sport@dailypost.co.nz

The wicket at Ray Boord Park won't be the only thing hard, barren and uncompromising for the fourth round of the 40-over Rotorua reserve grade cricket series today.

After a week off for the Raggamuffin concert, the pitch at Boord Park resembles a scene out of a post-apocalyptic movie and it would be apt, especially when there is little love lost between Central and Geyser City.

Leading the competition on 18 points, Geyser go into the match as the team to beat. However, history shows Central lead the head-to-head clashes this season, having won two of the three encounters.

If a cricket enthusiast tried to delve into the reasons for the feud between the two sides, it would come down to a number of things. Players from both sides have in the past played for either side and, obviously for their own reasons, these players are always keen to get payback on their former teammates.

Then you could look at the sibling rivalry which goes on between the two sides. You have the two Collier brothers, Matt and Johnny, who in their own rights have had outstanding seasons for the sides.

Then there is just the old-fashioned Kiwi mentality - you just want to go out there and beat your opponent to be the best.

Whatever the reason, today's match promises to have it all. With semifinal spots up for grabs, it's imperative for the Rees Uerata-led Central to follow up their win against Bay of Plenty two weeks ago with a win over match favourites Geyser.

However, Geyser are led by the equally impressive Karl McKnight who, like his rival, has sometimes struggled to find a consistent playing XI. Both sides are stacked full of talent and will be looking for that X-factor to shine and to win the bragging rights.

In the other clash of the round, down-on-their-luck Bay of Plenty Indians will need to dig deep and play with plenty of heart and confidence when they take on Taupo Wanderers at their home fortress, Owen Delany Park. The Wanderers are yet to lose at home so far this season.

The Indians biggest problem has been having the patience to bat for time and build their innings.

The side has plenty of talent and will need their senior players to step up if they are to have any hope of securing a win away from home.

Both games get under way at 12.30pm.

Draw: Central v Geyser, Ray Boord Park; Taupo Wanderers v Bay of Plenty Indians, Owen Delany Park.

Points table: Geyser City 18, Taupo Wanderers 12, Central 6, Bay of Plenty Indians 0.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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