Honours were shared in the two matches played between a Bay of Plenty XI and Hawke's Bay at the Tauranga Domain on Saturday and Sunday with both games going down to the wire.

The purpose of the matches was to prepare both provinces for a long season of provincial representative cricket, which will run until March 2017.

Bay of Plenty XI coach Charles Williams says "the two games were about giving our boys games on grass wickets early in the season".

"We introduced several youngsters to a higher level of cricket over the weekend, with the experience of playing alongside our two Knights players in Jono Boult and Brett Hampton likely to pay good dividends in the future."


Bay of Plenty won the toss and elected to bat in Saturday's 106 over game. The hosts lost their first two wickets with just four runs on the board before Ben Musgrave and Jono Boult steadied the ship. The two Bay of Plenty representatives went on to post half centuries.

At 126 for six, Bay of Plenty were in several degrees of trouble which got worse when they were just 146 with the last two Bay of Plenty batsmen at the wicket. Campbell Thomas and Gurwinder Singh put on 36 runs for the tenth wicket as Bay of Plenty were bowled out for 181.

Singh in his first year out of Tauranga Boys' College fought hard to post an unbeaten 25 runs.

Hawke's Bay bowlers Christian Leopard and GC Pretorius did the damage with the ball, with Leopard grabbing four wickets while Pretorius took three wickets for 32 runs.

The overs were slightly reduced due to a mid-afternoon rain delay with the home side bowlers making an early impact. A fighting knock of 36 not out from Christian Leopard got Hawke's Bay over the line with two wickets in hand.

Boult was the best of the Bay of Plenty bowlers with four wickets, with Singh and Hampton picking up two wickets.

Hawkes Bay batted first in game two and set the home side a solid target, when they reached 226 for the loss of nine wickets, in their allotted 50 overs.

Indika Senarthne (49), Bradley Schmulian( 42) and Christian Leopard (35) all made solid contributions to the visitors total. The Bay of Plenty wickets were shared around with Brody Gilroy, Peter Drysdale and Hampton taking two bowling scalps.

Hawke's Bay bowled grabbed the early ascendancy and had Bay of Plenty in serious trouble at five down with just 80 runs on the board. The two Northern Knights players dug deep with Hampton top scoring with a fighting knock of 88 and Boult posting 45.

"The fight-back from Hammer and Jono not only took us a long way to victory but gave the two ND boys plenty of time in the middle early in the season," Williams said.

Determined defence by the tailenders saw Bay of Plenty get home for victory with a one wicket to spare.

Bay of Plenty v Hawke's Bay Results
Bay of Plenty XI 181 (Ben Musgrave 58, Jono Boult 50, Gurwinder Singh 25no; Christian Leopard 4/43, GS Pretorius 3/32) lost to Hawke's Bay 186/8 (C Leopard 36no; Jacob Smith 21, Rupert Young 21; J Boult 4/19, G Singh 2/32, Brett Hampton 2/36)

Hawke's Bay 226/9 (Indika Senarthne 49, Bradley Schmulian 42, Christian Leopard 35; Brody Gilroy 2/35, Peter Drysdale 2/41, Brett Hampton 2/53) lost to Bay of Plenty 227/9 (Brett Hampton 88, Jono Boult 45, Matt Golding 24)