OBR big challenge for Horouta
They're the only show in town.
With the DJ Barry Cup taking a break this weekend, Hope Cup cricket will take pride of place at the Harry Barker Reserve tomorrow from 2pm.
Rawhiti Legal Old Boys Rugby and Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps sit atop the six-team Senior B table. They have 22 points ahead of Round 13 of 17 in the 30-over competition.
Bollywood High School Old Boys Presidents have 16pts, Coastal Ultrasound Horouta and Gisborne Boys' High School have 10 apiece and Campion College have seven.
OBR play Horouta on HBR 3, Ngatapa play GBHS on HBR 4, and HSOB play Campion on HBR 1.
“We had great numbers and, more importantly, great attitudes at training this week,” OBR captain Craig Christophers said.
“Rongomai Smith and Ben Brick are working hard to become all-rounders, and Lloyd van Zyl might be the quickest bowler in the comp, but our key player is Ian Loffler, who is averaging around 160 with the bat and under 10 with the ball.”
The Christophers-led OBR side represent an enormous challenge for Horouta.
OBR have won six games in a row since their two-wicket loss to Ngatapa on November 9.
In beating the Green Caps by 29 runs last Saturday, Horouta recorded just their third win in a season they began with a 185-run crushing of Boys' High.
Horouta skipper Heyan Ranasinghe said: “The key for us against OBR is to retain wickets; sometimes we don't. Tere Te Moananui, Mel Knight and I need to bat well.”
Also needing to bat well tomorrow are the GBHS top-order batsmen.
Their batting effort against Ngatapa in Round 1 at Campion was eye-watering stuff. They were 34-2 after 10 overs and 70-4 after 20 overs on the way to 119-8 in 30 overs.
The Green Caps won that first meeting by six wickets, and the Round 7 clash by eight wickets.
Cohen Loffler and Max Briant (48 and 49 against HSOB last week) and Nathan Trowell at numbers 1, 2 and 3 respectively are finding their feet in Senior B cricket.
Off-spinner Daniel Stewart took 4-38 off six overs against HSOB last Saturday.
Sebastian Wilson, with 22 not out off 16 balls batting at No.6, served notice that he, among others, could merit a top-order spot.
Boys' High captain Stewart said: “After the HSOB game we know we can be competitive, although playing Ngatapa will be a test.”
The Caps' Mike Gibson said: “With the Ngatapa dog trials and the holiday weekend, half of our squad are away, so this game will be a challenge, considering how much Boys' High seem to have improved.”
High School Old Boys Presidents are enjoying their cricket this season.
Numbers are up and their colourful team spirit has been one of the features of the Hope Cup.
Tomorrow they take on a Campion team whose captain, Liam Spring, is one of Poverty Bay's most improved young cricketers in the past two to three years.
Spring's teammate Luke Hurlstone scored an invaluable 25 in the college's four-run win against Horouta a fortnight ago and in Round 12 Blake Marshall — the point of the sword of Campion's pace attack — made a very good 38.
Campion player-coach Mark Naden said: “We're ready to rock, with Braden Sycamore and Grace Levy to debut in the Hope Cup. We're also fielding Maddie Ashworth and Rubi Perano.”
Ashworth (3-29 against Horouta), like Mahmood Khan of HSOB Presidents, bowls one of the best outswingers in the grade.
The Isaac Hughes-led Presidents, with their experience and depth, go into the game as favourites but on a good day — if their trusty old heads fire and their promising youngsters step up — Campion are capable of an upset.