Bragging rights are for grabs when Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay play their annual pre-season fixtures this weekend.
The new format of Twenty20 cricket, introduced at the Northern Districts one-day tournament in Taupo in December, has changed the approach to the annual pre-season hit-out.
Tauranga's Fergusson Park will host two T20 games on Saturday, with a 50-over match-up between the two Bays taking centrestage on Sunday. The Bay of Plenty selectors have taken the opportunity to introduce a number of young players to senior men's representative cricket.
Cameron Riley, Sean Dykes, Ben Pomare, Craig Baldry and Tim Pringle all attend local secondary schools, and although they have played premier and age-group cricket, this weekend's games will be another learning step in their fledgling cricket careers.
Bay of Plenty Cricket Association cricket manager Tai Bridgman-Raison said the five had been on the radar for several years.
"It is great to see them now making the transition into district men's cricket.
"The selection group have done an excellent job balancing youth and experience. Hawke's Bay are a quality side so it will be a challenging weekend of cricket which is ideal as early season preparation. It is also a good opportunity to try out various batting and bowling combinations over two separate formats of the game."
Previous experience against Hawke's Bay is provided by several players who will wear the "baggy" 50-game cap over the two days at Fergusson Park. Peter Drysdale, who has played 80 games in the blue and gold uniform, overtook Grant Manners (79) to move into third place on the list of all-time Bay of Plenty appearances, last season.
Jono Boult has become a fixture in the Bay of Plenty side, when not on Northern Districts duty, after making his debut in the 2003/04 season. Wicketkeeper Tim Clarke and Brett Hampton are two other players with 50-plus games.
Bay of Plenty teams to play Hawke's Bay on Saturday and Sunday
Saturday, Game One T20: Tom MacRury, Stephen Crossan, Joe Carter, Sean Davey, Jono Boult (captain), Matt Golding, Tim Clarke, Christian MacDonald, Peter Drysdale, Cameron Riley, Tim Pringle, James Boyd.
Saturday, Game Two T20: Tim Clarke, Peter Drysdale, Joe Carter, Brett Hampton, Jono Boult (captain), Ben Musgrave, Stephen Crossan, Iman Singh, Brody Gilroy, Chris Atkinson, Tim Pringle, one to be added.
Sunday 50 Over: Peter Drysdale (captain), Tom MacRury, Ben Musgrave, Sean Davey, Brett Hampton, Sean Dykes, Alastair Blackett, Christian MacDonald Ben Pomare, Cameron Riley, Chris Atkinson, Craig Baldry.