While Rotorua's Bayleys Central Indians are the form team in 2018, they are up against some quality opposition today when they play Eves Realty Greerton at Pemberton Park in Tauranga.
Both have started the Williams Cup with back-to-back wins and share the outright lead. Bay of Plenty inter-city bragging rights will be on the line this weekend.
Long-time Rotorua premier player Andrew Gibbs, who skippers the Central Indians, is a key player with both bat and ball. Twelve wickets and 106 runs in Baywide cricket this season testify to his tag as a genuine all-rounder. Stephen Nicholls leads the Rotorua side's batting, with 239 runs.
Greerton batsman Lee Watkins has been in sterling form and has posted 231 runs at an average of 28.88. Leg-spinner James Boyd is a real workhorse with the ball and has taken 18 wickets to sit in second place in the season-long bowling stakes.
Defending Williams Cup title holders Element IMF Cadets sit in an unfamiliar place at the bottom of the standings. However, this weekend they will have their Bay of Plenty representative players back in the fold when they meet New World Te Puke at the Te Puke Domain. Captain Jono Boult, Joe Carter, Sean Davey and Donovan Deeble return, seeing the defending champions back to full strength, after two successive Bay of Plenty representative encounters.
Two Te Puke players sit at the top of the Baywide batting and bowling honours lists. Stephen Crossan leads the batting stakes with 477 runs, while Christian MacDonald heads the bowling list with 24 wickets.
Carrus Mount Maunganui will be heavily favoured to beat GM Painters Lake Taupo CC at Blake Park. Eight Hart Family Trophies, since the Baywide champion of champions silverware was first presented in 2008, tells the tale of the Mount side's desire to lead the charge on the three Baywide trophies each season.
Baywide Cricket Draw - Saturday
Carrus Mount Maunganui v GM Painters Lake Taupo CC, Blake2; Eves Realty Greerton v Bayleys Central Indians, Pemberton Park; New World Te Puke v Element IMF Cadets, Te Puke Domain; Cooney Lees Morgan Tauranga Boys' College the bye.
Central Indians 12, Mount Maunganui 12, Greerton 12, Te Puke 0, Cadets 0, Tauranga Boys College 0, Lake Taupo CC 0.
Williams Cup Honours Board 2018
Batting (Centuries) 103 – Joshua Bates (Cadets) v Greerton.
Bowling (Five wickets) 5/46 - James Boyd (Greerton) v Cadets.