The Western Bay of Plenty challenge prize of the Baker Cup will be on the line at Blake Park tomorrow when holders Carrus Mount Maunganui square off with Eves Realty Greerton.
Last weekend the two rivals opened their Baywide Cup campaign in contrasting circumstances. Mount Maunganui set New World Te Puke a big target when posting 264/3, with Ben Musgrave and new recruit Brenton Thompson putting on an unbeaten 149-run partnership.
A rain-affected artificial wicket and a late start didn't do Greerton any favours in their match-up with Element IMF Cadets at Waipuna Park. Led by the first five-wicket bag of the season from Donavan Deeble, Cadets removed Greerton for 110 and then cruised to a nine-wicket win.
Cooney Lees Morgan Tauranga Boys' College and Cadets will take an opening day win into their clash at the Tauranga Domain. The Tauranga Boys' 1st XI put on a strong performance to beat the newly combined Bayleys Central Indians team. After bowling the Rotorua visitors out for 152, the Tauranga students got home to a comfortable five-wicket victory with Tom Renouf top scoring with 42.
Tauranga Boys' bowlers could have their hands full with a strong Cadets top order on Saturday. Sean Davey led from the front against Greerton, top scoring with 63 not out, and recent Bay of Plenty representative players Ben Christensen and Scott Steward are both capable of taking charge of a match with the willow.
Te Puke and Central Indians will play at the neutral venue of Blake Park three. Te Puke held on against a determined Mount Maunganui bowling attack to eke out a losing draw in round one.
Central Indians can be expected to improve from their first outing as a combined team, with plenty to like about their performance last week. Co-skipper Andrew Gibbs, who is better known as a strike bowler, showed his all-round abilities with a hard fought 29 batting down the order against Tauranga Boys'.
BOPCA Baywide Cup, tomorrow, 12pm
New World Te Puke v Bayleys Central Indians, Blake 3; Element IMF Cadets v Cooney Lees Morgan Tauranga Boys' College Tauranga Domain; Carrus Mount Maunganui v Eves Realty Greerton, Blake 1.
Points Table (Provisional) Cadets 20, Tauranga Boys' College 20, Mount Maunganui 16, Te Puke 8, Central Indians 0, Greerton 0.