A trip to the far north of New Zealand marks the opening of the Bay of Plenty senior men's 2017/18 ND Fergus Hickey Rosebowl campaign.
The Bay of Plenty representatives take on Northland at Cobham Oval in Whangarei this Saturday and Sunday in their first two-day encounter of the season.
The Bay side enter the competition as champions. They have won 16 Fergus Hickey crowns since the 1979/80 season and their domination of the ND premier championship in recent years is represented by four titles in the past six seasons.
The Bay of Plenty selectors have gone for a team which includes players experienced in the rigours of minor association representative cricket. Their top order will see captain Peter Drysdale open with Tom MacRury, with Joe Carter and Sean Davey, who own nine Bay of Plenty centuries between them, likely to bat at three and four.
"Our middle order batsmen Ben Musgrave and Tim Clarke would bat in the top four of most provincial sides in the country, which shows the depth we have in our batting line-up," head coach Charles Williams said.
Tim Pringle, who attends Otumoetai College, will make his Bay of Plenty senior men's debut in Whangarei. Another to wear the blue and gold uniform for the first time is Dan Smith, who has come from Southland to play club cricket for Mount Maunganui this summer. Smith is an accomplished batsman who will bring plenty of minor association experience to the Bay side.
"The icing on the cake for us is being able to welcome back all-rounder Jono Boult, quick bowler Tony Goodin and Joe Carter who were all playing first-class cricket for Northern Districts 12 months ago," Williams said.
The Bay team is rounded out by Brett Hampton and Alastair Blackett. Hampton, who will be playing his 60th match in the Bay uniform, has been released by Northern Districts to play in Whangarei, while Blackett is a promising young bowler who took a six-wicket bag against Hamilton last season.
Fergus Hickey Rosebowl 2017/18 - Bay of Plenty Schedule
November 11/12 v Northland (away)
February 3/4 v Counties Manukau (away)
February 17/18 v Hamilton (home)
March 3/4 v Waikato Valley (home)
Bay of Plenty team to play Northland (appearances in brackets)
Peter Drysdale - captain (80)
Ben Musgrave (30)
Dan Smith (debut)
Tony Goodin (66)
Tom MacRury (46)
Brett Hampton (59)
Joe Carter (47)
Sean Davey (37)
Jono Boult (71)
Tim Pringle (debut)
Tim Clarke (68)
Alastair Blackett (6)
Coach: Charles Williams
Assistant coach: Russell Williams