Central facing big doubleheader

By Greg Taipari, sport@dailypost.co.nz

It's a busy weekend for Central's reserve grade cricket team with a doubleheader for the side.

Today they look to defend the Grantleys Liquor Merchants Challenge Cup against the Taupo Wanderers as well as continue their run to a finals berth in the Rotorua reserve grade 40-over series. If they manage to do this, they will then have to turn out to Smallbone Park tomorrow for their must-win match against Katikati to advance through to the semifinal of the McNaughton Trophy.

The trophy donated by the McNaughton family in Te Puke is awarded to the top second tier team from within the Bay of Plenty Cricket Association's region.

Central's first challenge isn't an easy one. They play the Wanderers on their home soil at their fortress of Owen Delany Park. Both sides will be looking to use today's match as a strong stepping stone for tomorrow, because like Central the Wanderers also have a McNaughton quarter-final - against Cadets at the Kaimanawa Reserve.

Both sides have shown strong form over the past two weeks.

Central's top order has been in good nick, with several batsmen scoring half centuries as well as a classy 114 from Shayde Perham. However, they face a side who are yet to taste defeat at home this year and will be determined to keep that record intact.

In their match tomorrow, Central take on Katikati who for the past two seasons have finished runners-up in the McNaughton Trophy.

But Central will be wanting to repeat their performance from 2008 when they won the prize.

Meanwhile, in the other rounds of the Rotorua competition, Geyser City are still smarting from their loss last weekend to Central.

They will have the opportunity to get some confidence back when they take on the Bay of Plenty Indians. The Indians have been abysmal the past couple of weeks. They are a shadow of the team which started the season with a narrow come-from-behind win over Rotorua Boys' High School.

The side find themselves with a six-point deficit after defaulting to the Wanderers in the last round because of a lack of players.

In the remaining matches for the McNaughton Trophy, Greerton will be keen to continue their winning form from two weeks ago against Geyser.

The Western Bay side batted first and posted 271/9 and then bowled the Rotorua representatives out for 217.

In the quarter-finals Greerton are at home at Pemberton Park to fellow Western Bay side R&A; Sangha.

Defending McNaughton champions Mount Maunganui face a challenge to progress to the semi-finals, when they meet Te Puke at the Te Puke Domain.

Te Puke's second XI are arguably the most improved side in the Western Bay ranks this season. After earning the wooden spoon last season they lurk menacingly in second place in the reserve grade title race.


Rotorua Reserve 40-over series (today): Taupo Wanderers v Central, Owen Delany Park; Geyser City v Bay of Plenty Indians, Ray Boord Park.

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

McNaughton Trophy quarter-finals (tomorrow): Greerton v R&A; Sangha, Pemberton Park; Central v Katikati, Smallbone Park; Te Puke v Mount Maunganui, Te Puke Domain; Taupo Wanderers, Kaimanawa Reserve.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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