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Posted: Sunday, 18 October 2020

The phony wars of pre-season matches are over and the Bay of Plenty Cricket Baywide season finally springs into life, on Saturday 24th October 2020, when the opening round of the Bay of Plenty Cup kicks off.

The major casualty as nine Baywide teams start their 2020/01 season campaigns, are several of last years overseas players who are unable to return to pick up where they left off last season, due to Covid 19 entry restrictions.

All eyes will be on Bond & Co Mount Maunganui, who won the prestigious Hart Family trophy (Baywide champion of champions), after they nearly swept the board in three Baywide competitions.

Mount Maunganui success in the Bay of Plenty Cup and Baywide T20, saw the Baywide trifecta thwarted when the Mount side finished second on run-rate countback, when the Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup playoffs were abandoned because of Covid 19.

A Mount Maunganui change of captaincy from longtime skipper Dale Swan to Matt Golding, won’t dilute the experience at the top, with Golding having been a Mount Maunganui premier player  for thirteen seasons. The Mount Maunganui coming and goings, will see David Hancock and Niven Dovey (mid-season) arrive and Dan Smith and Ben Guild move to new Baywide recruits Papamoa.

Snapping at Mount Maungani’s heels throughout last season, were Eves Realty Greerton, who chased the Blake Park based side home in the Bay of Plenty Cup and Baywide T20 competitions. The Pemberton Park based side won the Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup on count-back after Greerton, Mount Maunganui and Cadets were tied on equal points at the end of the regular season.

Three new Greerton recruits of Tim Burke (Auckland) Brandan Laurenzi (Auckland) and Mitchell Rush (Wellington), are expected to bring plenty of firepower to the team and counter the loss of Josh Bates, Tom Renouf, Henry Collier, Bruce Kerr and Pip Thickpenny.

Multiple Baywide champions Element IMF Cadets have rung the changes with several extremely promising youngsters, to counter the loss of Cadets legend Jono Boult and Jacob Logan. Andrew Mascall will step into the captains role vacated by Jono Boult, while second generation Cadets premier players Carson and Spencer Wills have joined the side.

Other new Cadets faces are Jamie McCabe from Ireland, along with Luke McConaghty from Palmerston North, with Dandre du Plessis returning to the Tauranga Domain.

Arguably the most improved side in Baywide cricket last season was Generation Homes Lake Taupo, who where the Bay of Plenty Plate runner-up and made the playoffs in the Baywide T20 finishing third equal. One Lake Taupo casualty has been last seasons star all-rounder, Drew Brierley, unable to return from the Northern Hemisphere because of Covid 19.

Habib Malik will continue to captain the team since being appointed in 2018, with several local players being given the opportunity to step up to the premier ranks for the first time.

Another to impress last season was Holland Beckett Law Tauranga Boys College. The Tauranga Boys side won the Bay of Plenty Plate and qualified for the Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup playoffs. The Western Bay secondary schools highlight last season was making the Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup top four, with this years agenda top four finish’s in all three competitions.

Tauranga Boys always face a mid-season challenge with term-four school leavers leaving vacancies on the TBC First XI pathway. Tim Clarke returns as Player/Coach and will have support from fellow TBC staff member Charles Williams and the occasional appearance from Jason Spice.

The Te Puke Cricket Club dates back to the early days of the sport in the Bay of Plenty, having been first established in 1887, with the first recorded match between Te Puke and Tauranga teams played in 1884.

Stability will be the key to success for The Flying Mullett Te Puke premier side this season, with Stephen Crossan again cemented as the teams captain and an unchanged line-up in the Te Puke First XI. The Te Puke side always target the time-honoured Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup as their primary target each year, with the Te Puke Domain based unit holding the record of 16 titles, since their first victory in the 1938/39 season.

The combined Bayleys Central Indians team, has deep roots that trace back to the Central CC formed in the late 1940s and the Indian Sports Club established in a similar vintage. The big news in their player ranks is the return of Bharat Popli to the team as player/coach.

Bharat Popli played 46 first class matches since his ND debut in December 2013, scoring 2779 runs with three centuries and a highest score of 172. While numerous accolades have flown thick and fast in his time in the middle, the 2015/16 season was his career highlight, being named the NZ Cricket Domestic Player of the Year. Some 1149 runs at an outstanding average of 65.78 testified to his outstanding season achievements.

Steve Nicholls will again lead the Rotorua combined side troops, with Dan Ford and Ryan Hill joining Bharat Popli as new team acquisitions, while Parv Mehta is the only player loss.

The Geyser Cricket Club made a solid start to their first season in the Baywide cricket competitions last season. Covid 19 claimed another overseas player with Sam Kershaw having to return home to England.

The progress that Geyser made during the summer, is shown by individual player performances in the season ending Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup. Sam Kershaw was the number one batsmen with 414 runs, which included two centuries. Other Geyser players to figure in prominent positions on the individual statistics, were Josh Simpson who took 15 bowling scalps with best figures of 5/42 and Joe O’Donoghue taking nine wickets.

Papamoa are the new boys on the block in making their Baywide competition debut in the new cricket year. A Papamoa Cricket Club spokesman, said history would suggest that most new teams take a couple of years to find their feet in Bay of Plenty premier cricket. The Papamoa expectations are centered on continually improving each week and being competitive against all other contenders.

Former Black Cap Matt Horne, who numbered 35 Tests and 50 ODI’s, will coach and play in the new Baywide side, with former Bay of Plenty representative players in Mitchell Sweetman and Mark Divehall also bringing experience in spades to the new team.


Element IMF Cadets

Home Ground: Tauranga Domain

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Bay of Plenty Cup third equal. Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup third place (on count-back due to Covid 19).

Player Gains: Carson Wills, Spencer Wills, Jamie McCabe (Ireland) Luke McConaghty (Palmerston North) Dandre Du Plessis (returning to Cadets)

Player Losses: Jono Boult, Jacob Logan

Captain: Andrew Mascall


Eves Realty Greerton

Home Ground: Pemberton Park

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup Champions, Bay of Plenty Cup runner-up, Baywide T20 runner-up.

Player Gains: Tim Burke (Auckland) Brandan Laurenzi (Auckland) Mitchell Rush (Wellington) Tom MacRury returning from Christchurch.

Player Losses: Josh Bates, Tom Renouf, Henry Collier, Bruce Kerr, Pip Thickpenny

Captain: Shane Wineti


Bond & Co Mount Maunganui

Home Ground: Blake Park

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Baywide Champion of Champions, Bay of Plenty Cup Champions, Baywide T20 Champions, Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup runner-up (on count-back due to Covid 19).

Player Gains: Niven Dovey (After completing commitments with TBC) David Hancock

Player Losses: Daniel Smith (Papamoa) Ben Guild (Papamoa)

Captain: Matt Golding


Bayleys Central-Indians

Home Ground: Smallbone Park/Boord Park

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Bay of Plenty Plate third equal.

Player Gains: Bharat  Popli, Dan Ford, Ryan Hall

Player Losses: Parv Mehta

Captain: Steve Nicholls


The Flying Mullett Te Puke

Home Ground: Te Puke Domain

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Bay of Plenty Cup third equal, Baywide T20 third equal.

Player Gains: Nil

Player Losses: Nil

Captain: Stephen Crossan                                 Coach: Peter Swan


Holland Beckett Law Tauranga Boys College

Home Ground: Nicholson Field

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Bay of Plenty Plate Champion, Versatile Tauranga Williams Cup fourth place.

Player Gains: TBC Cricket Pathway

Player Losses: Kieran New

Captain:  Niven Dovey                                 Player/Coach: Tim Clarke


Generation Homes Lake Taupo CC

Home Ground: Owen Delaney Park

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Bay of Plenty Plate runner-up, Baywide T20 third equal.

Player Gains: Several local players stepping up to premier cricket.

Player Losses: Drew Brierley (last year overseas player unable to return because of Covid 19)

Captain: Habib Malik


Geyser City Sports

Home Ground: Smallbone/Boord Park

2019/20 Top Four Finishes: Bay of Plenty Plate third equal

Player Gains: Nil

Player Losses: Sam Kershaw (returned to England)

Captain: Cody Fell


Papamoa Cricket Club

Home Ground: Alice Johnson Oval @ Gordon Spratt Reserve

Playing Squad: Andrew Goldsmith, Ashish Dhameliya, Ben Guild, Dave Tuck, Deon van Blerk, George Howard, George Moore, Guy Wilkins, Mark Divehall. Matt Horne, Mitchell Sweetman, Paul Inglis, Reese Shilton, Ryan Balsom.

Captain: Paul Inglis                               Coach: Matt Horne

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