Te Puke and Element IMF Cadets have the opportunity to book Williams Cup semifinals in the penultimate round of the long-time Baywide competition today.
While both sides will be without their Bay of Plenty representative players, who are on Hawke Cup duty, they will take unbeaten records into their weekend games.
Competition leaders Te Puke have home ground advantage at the Te Puke Domain when Tauranga Boys College visit this afternoon. The two sides have plenty of firepower, with players who sit in the top three of the Williams Cup batting and bowling statistics.
Tauranga Boys College teacher Mark Orchard, who is player/coach of the Tauranga students, has posted the most runs in the post-Christmas competition, having blasted 329 runs in five games. Tauranga Boys also have a top-three bowler, with Henry Conway sitting on 11 wickets.
The Te Puke side lose nothing by comparison, with Jeremy Bates having developed into a genuine allrounder in the past 12 months. He has taken 12 bowling scalps and has a highest score of 134 putting him seventh in the batting stakes.
While Mitch McCann has had a sterling season to sit in third place with 227 runs, the talented allrounder is on Bay of Plenty duty as the Bay team try to defend the Hawke Cup against Canterbury Country at the Bay Oval.
One of the real rivalries of Western Bay resumes hostilities when Cadets square off against Mount Maunganui at the Tauranga Domain. Mount would love to take away Cadets' unbeaten Williams Cup record and a Mount victory would move them into contention for a home semifinal. Both are without several Bay players apiece but they sport strong Reserve Grade sides.
Defending titleholders Eves Realty Greerton will still be smarting from their T20 defeat by Central and get the chance for revenge at Pemberton Park. Greerton batsman Cameron Neal has firepower to burn and sits in second place in the standings with 238 runs. But Central have a strong bowling line-up led by Bay rep bowlers Ben Blackett and Andrew Gibbs who could trouble Greerton's batsmen.
East Bay United sit in fifth place on the standings and still have a theoretical chance of playing post-section cricket, but they need to beat BOP Indians today and post a further victory in the last round to have any chance of making the top four.
Williams Cup Draw;
BOP Indians v East Bay United, Smallbone Park; Te Puke v Tauranga Boys College, Te Puke Domain, Element IMF Cadets v Mount Maunganui, Tauranga Domain; Eves Realty Greerton v Central, Pemberton Park.
Te Puke 35, Cadets 33, Mount Maunganui 23, Greerton 23, East Bay United 17, Central 11, Tauranga Boys College 11, BOP Indians 4.
Statistics - Top Three
Batsmen; 329 Mark Orchard (TBC), 238 Cameron Neal (Greerton), 227 Mitch McCann (Te Puke).
Bowling (wickets) : 13 Joel Mathews (East Bay United), 12 Jeremy Bates (Te Puke), 11 Henry Conway (TBC).