Northland Cricket Association season for premier and reserves grades gets underway this morning.
The bats and pads of premier and reserve grade cricketers will be dusted off for the 2018/19 cricket season today.
Northland Cricket Association general manager, Stephen Cunis, is excited about the season and believes that the first weekend of matches will be an interesting watch.
"Both competitions start with the 40-over format and it will be good to see how teams line up, and perform, in the initial stages."
Cunis said Recreational Services had done a fantastic job in getting the grounds up to speed and the players were really keen to get out there.
In the premier competition, Maungakaramea take on City at Maungakaramea and it will be an intriguing match.
City will have the services of key players like Stacy Hyndman, Matt Lobb and Kieran Nelson, as well their overseas contingent, to call on.
Maungakaramea will look to the experience of Neal Parlane, Tom Lovegrove, Ian and Chris Page and Bert Horner, along with the youthful exuberance of Thorne Parkes and Cam Gordan.
Although Maungakaramea will be favourites, City will no doubt be keen to prove they are a force to reckoned with.
Onerahi Central take on Kaipara Flats at Kensington Park. Kaipara Flats will have a star-studded line up and the likes of Rory Christopherson, Ollie White, Mike O'Flaherty, Matt Taylor, Simar Virk and the new South African recruit, Byron Jollivet, are sure to feature.
Onerahi Central, however, will have their own firepower in Henry Cooper, Tom Herman, Todd Beehre and Cullen Lowe, so this match will be a tough tussle for both teams.
On paper, Kaipara have the inside running but Onerahi Central will be doing all they can to secure a win and start the season well.
The final match of the premier competition is between Kamo and WBHS. With overseas professional, Sam Sweeney, not yet available and captain, Luke Trigg, also being unavailable, WBHS will rely on Sam Webb, Michael Krige and Kurt Oldridge to do the bulk of the scoring for the young side and their quick bowler, Cale Pooley, will be tasked with knocking the Kamo top order over, if they are to push a strong Kamo side.
Kamo, led by Northland captain Ben Hyde, will have the services of ex-Black Cap Bruce Martin to utilise and their young up-and-comers Nathan Parkes, Billy Alexander-Crawford and Max Turner, will be a force to be reckoned with.
Kamo will want to secure five points in the match but WBHS will be doing all they can to repeat their dramatic one wicket win, the final of the One Day competition, last season.
In reserve grade, Kerikeri take on a strong City side in Kerikeri. City boast the inclusion of Joseph Yovich to their side and he will be a key player to restrain if Kerikeri are to win at home.
Kamo CC will be looking to stake their claim early in the season and will be hoping to harness the calypso-style of play that Bream Bay is renowned for. Kamo CC will no doubt have a few tricks up their sleeve and will be regarded as favourites heading into the match being played at Kensington.
Maungakaramea play WBHS at Kensington and Maungakaramea will, like their premier side, have a good balance of youth and experience. WBHS will, as always, play to their strengths and work as a team.
Although favourites, Maungakaramea will have to play well to beat an enthusiastic WBHS unit. In the final match of the Reserve Grade round, Kamo HS take on a new team to the competition, the Tikipunga Tigers. Rob Ganey's men from Tikipunga will be working hard to quickly find their feet in the Reserve Grade competition but they will have a very tough opponent in Kamo HS.
Although Kamo HS being regarded as the red-hot favourites, Tikipunga will be no doubt be keen to test their young counterparts and see where they're at in the grade.