This weekend's Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup competition will feature a battle of Western Bay's cricket heavyweights when current titleholders Element IMF Cadets square off with Eves Realty Greerton.
The two squads have won the oldest prize in Baywide cricket on five occasions in the last decade. Cadets skipper Jono Boult and Greerton captain Shane Wineti both know the feeling that comes with holding the Bay of Plenty Cricket trophy aloft in triumph.
Both the Cadets and Greerton team leaders are crucial in their sides' quest to win the trophy. Boult is a run accumulator with impressive spin bowling, while Greerton's skipper is equally adept with both bat and ball.
There will be plenty of action on the pitch in other Williams Cup matches as well, with Carrus Mount Maunganui having home-ground advantage when they play Bayleys Central Indians. In the last couple of decades, Mount Maunganui has become the team to beat in the Baywide competition, having won the Hart Family Trophy awarded to the Baywide champion of champions on eight occasions.
The combined Central Indians team are an enigma living on a rollercoaster ride of triumph and defeat. Last season they made it to the Williams Cup final, finishing second to Cadets, in stark contrast to their campaign 12 months later sitting winless at the bottom of standings.
New World Te Puke hit the highway to the Great Lake region to meet Generation Homes Lake Taupō at Owen Delany Park. Both sides, who sit with one win of three matches on the standings, will be keen for victory to move into playoffs.
The surprise package this season have been Bond and Co Tauranga Boys' College, who won the Bay of Plenty Plate and relieved Greerton of the WBOPCA challenge prize of the Baker Cup last Saturday, to sit in second equal place on the points ladder. Standing in the way of Tauranga Boys' third win of the title race is Geyser City who host the Western Bay side at Smallbone Park.
Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup Draw:
Carrus Mount Maunganui vs Bayleys Central Indians, Blake 2; Generation Homes Lake Taupō vs New World Te Puke, Owen Delany Park; Element IMF Cadets vs Eves Realty Greerton, Tauranga Domain; Geyser City vs Bond and Co Tauranga Boys' College, Smallbone Park.
Points Table: Cadets 18, Greerton 12, Tauranga Boys' College 12, Mount Maunganui 12, Geyser City 6, Lake Taupō 6, Te Puke 6, Central Indians 0.
Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup 2020 Honours Board:
Drew Brierley (Lake Taupo vs Tauranga Boys' College, February 8): 128.
Ben Vyver (Tauranga Boys' College vs Central Indians, February 1): 112.
Sam Kershaw (Geyser City vs Lake Taupō, February 1): 101no.