It will be a case of ''as you were'' for Te Puke Cricket Club as it goes into the 2019-20 Baywide cricket season.

There will be few changes in playing personnel, with Stephen Crossan once again captaining the team and prolific batsman Tai Bridgman-Raison also returning for another season at the club.

Four players - Hamish Wilde, Josh Earl, Christian MacDonald and Daniel Price - have spent the New Zealand winter playing in the UK.

It was MacDonald's third stint in the UK, Earl and Price's second and the first for Wilde.


''It's every cricketer's dream to go and play cricket in England to see what its like,'' says Crossan who spent the 2018 UK summer playing in the Manchester area.

''I really enjoyed it - it was everything I wanted and I got to do some work over there too, working as a groundsman and coaching with the juniors and I played every Saturday and every Friday night in a T20 competition.''

Te Puke also boasts a clutch of promising younger players - Mikaere Leef, Blair McKenzie, Iman Singh and Cameron Riley - who have already made their mark in the game, with all four playing for the Bay development side last season.

''Blair McKenzie is going to be the big one,'' predicts Crossan. ''He's going to have a big

McKenzie and Bridgman-Raison were second and third highest run scorers in last season's Baywide competitions. Leaf and McKenzie will travel back to the Bay to play, despite now studying in the Waikato.

''We've got exactly the same squad of players throughout both the premiers and reserves which is good,'' says Crossan.

''It's always good to have new people come in, but we haven't had any new players really join this season, and we've still got 25-30 senior men interested in cricket which is perfect.''

More players would mean the ability to field three teams, with the addition of a B grade side, which is one of the club's goals.


Te Puke will start the Baywide Cup competition with an away game at Cadets on Saturday followed by a trip to Taupō on October 12. Work on the club pavilion means the premiers are not scheduled to play at Te Puke Domain until November 9, with ''home'' games at Blake Park until then.

The Baywide T20 competition, which has begun the season for several years, will now run through December and January followed by the Williams Cup.

Crossan says there are no specific targets related to any one competition.

''Obviously the goal is to win something - well the goal is to win them all - but everyone wants to win the Williams Cup because that's the major prize - the big one. We've had a pretty good run the last couple of years.

''Normally we were pretty bad pre-Christmas, and then we'd kick into gear after Christmas, but that's kind of switched recently and we've been playing our best cricket before Christmas. Hopefully we can get it right and play a fluent level of cricket throughout and contest for one or a couple of those trophies.''

Te Puke last won the Williams Cup in the 2015-16 season.

With several players - Crossan being one of them - hopeful of Bay of Plenty honours this season, resources could be stretched at times.

''We've a pretty good young core of players who are in that area of selection for the Bay, so it will be tough at some points but we do have some depth for that.

Crossan says he and Bridgman-Raison act as mentors for the younger players and he hopes that helps attract them to and keep them at the club.

Having long-term coach Peter Swan at the helm is another positive for those playing for Te Puke.

''We are lucky to have him here,'' says Crossan.

■ Te Puke played in the four-team Lake Taupō Spring Cup T20 tournament at the weekend and, while they did not reach the final, Crossan had the satisfaction of smashing a tournament high 102 from 65 balls in the game against Karaka Cricket Club.