With winter in the rearview mirror and summer upon us it is that time of year when boundaries are hit, stumps are skittled and catches win matches.

The first round of the Rotorua/Taupo senior reserve grade cricket competition tomorrow sees two brand new Rotorua-based teams go head-to-head.

Geyser City Cricket Club, John Paul College and Western Heights High School have joined forces to create two new "old boys" teams this season, in an effort to create better pathways for young cricketers.

Tomorrow those two teams, which include old boys with connections to the respective schools as well as current senior pupils, play each other at Ray Boord Park.


Geyser City spokesman Kane Vanner said the two squads had shaped up well, with strong teams going into the derby match.

"We have a really competitive atmosphere building between the teams, with a lot of pride on the line for both high schools - including some really healthy banter.

"Both sides have new captains and vice-captains for the season, with all four players being former pupils of their respective high schools - some recent and some not so recent. JPC old boys will be captained by Manny Kumar with vice captain Liam Kelly. WHHS will be led by Joe O'Donoghue, and vice-captain Chris Nairn," Vanner said.

He said given Geyser City were working with a new long-term strategy, their aspirations for this season were "pretty simple".

"We want to build on the support we have received from the high schools and our members, and get our new brand and culture under way. We want to build depth in our player base and ensure we get two strong sides on the field every week and then all going well our season goal is to have both teams finish in the top four spots of this year's competition.

"Each squad has been put together with a great mix of batting and bowling skills, and on paper they look very even.

"From what we have seen at training the guys are already in good form with a couple of bowling standouts in Matt Mitchell, fresh from a good rugby season, returning to take one of the lead bowling roles for WHHS, and a new recruit for JPC with Satpal Singh coming from playing the last four seasons in Auckland.

"The other noticeable element from our trainings so far has been the vibe of the guys. There has been a real buzz around our new plans and some great banter between the squads, which we are really looking to build on.

"There's nothing like some friendly rivalry to add to the atmosphere of a cricket game, and even though we are one club we can already see a good amount of competition building between the teams. There will be no love lost on Saturday I am sure."

Meanwhile, last year's champions Bay of Plenty Indians take on Taupo Old Boys 2, Central play Taupo Old Boys 1, and last year's defeated finalists Lake Taupo 2nd XI open their campaign against Eastern Pirates.

In the Baywide premier division Central Indians start the Twenty20 phase of the competition with games against Te Puke and Mount Maunganui this weekend.


Rotorua/Taupo senior reserve cricket draw - round one
All games start at 1pm
BOP Indians v Taupo Old Boys 2 at Ray Boord 2
Central v Taupo Old Boys 1 at Ray Boord 1
Geyser WHHS Old Boys v Geyser JPC Old Boys at Ray Boord 3
Lake Taupo 2nd XI v Eastern Pirates at Owen Delany 2