The final preseason hit-outs for Bay of Plenty cricket teams will be played this weekend, as the seven premier teams ready their troops for the start of the competition on October 7.
As is usual at the start of each cricket season, there have been comings and goings as new players arrive and club stalwarts depart and retire.
Central Indians team spokesman Paddy Hayes said: "Past Bay of Plenty Indian Sports captain Yohaan Irani returns to the side after missing last season, while Samil Kumar from Rajasthan in India will make his debut.
"Both are quality top-order batsmen who will provide additional depth this season. Jake Rowe, who is another new recruit, is an English allrounder who has taken six months off teaching to play for us.
"We are focusing on plugging any holes exposed last season and building on what we have learnt. Expectations are that we can turn the close games into wins and by doing so, put ourselves in finals contention.
"Having a stronger batting lineup with more runs on the board will help achieve that and give the bowling lineup, led by Andrew Gibbs, the extra latitude that was not always there last season," Hayes said.
Mount Maunganui will enter the season with the Hart Family Trophy (Premier Champion of Champions) in their trophy cabinet. They have won the Hart Family Trophy eight times since it was first contested a decade ago.
Mount Maunganui captain Dale Swan said: "While we have no notable signings this year, there is a strong core and with four senior teams, we will rely on the depth in our club throughout the season.
"We are looking to build upon last season's success and have retained the majority of our squad, which is paramount in building our foundations for this year," Swan said.
Williams Cup titleholders Cadets are, in the words of captain Jono Boult, "the team to beat" in all three forms of the Baywide game this season.
Boult, a longtime Cadets player who has played more than 100 games for Northern Districts, picks up the captain's reins for the first time this season.
"Sean Davey and Rueben Clinton are back after successful off-seasons in the UK, with Kersley Corder looking in good nick in preseason training. Ben Christensen, Joe Carter and Scott Steward will be the heart of the team and we look forward to seeing our Black Caps in Trent Boult and Corey Anderson at some stage," Boult said.
The 2017 season will bring a Taupo-based team into the Baywide Premier ranks for the first time. Formed just 15 months ago, the Lake Taupo Cricket Club made a successful entrance playing in and winning both the Western Bay of Plenty Cricket First Round and Championship titles.
Lake Taupo spokesman Jerome Dyer said the team's key players were captain Roger Urbahn, Habib Malik and Blaine Inch.
"Roger is the side's opening bowler and a useful right-hand batsman, taking 28 wickets in the Western Bay competition.
"Last year's overseas player Habib Malik from Scotland has decided to permanently settle in Taupo and is a quality allrounder who averaged 42 runs per match with the bat and took 35 wickets during the season.
"Left-hand batsmen Blaine Inch is the rock in the top order, hitting the winning runs in the Western Bay of Plenty Championship title decider," Dyer said.
Also competing for the premier title will be Greerton, Te Puke and Tauranga Boys' College.