Teams have one final chance to improve their standings on the Doleman Cup table this weekend in the last round of pool play.
Bollywood Stars High School Old Boys are back in the top spot after a dominant performance against Galaxy World Gisborne Boys’ High School last weekend. As a result, Boys’ High slid to third in the standings.
Coastal Concrete OBR’s upset loss to Horouta means the top three teams in the competition are on equal points, with only net run rate separating them.
Horouta will hope they can continue to be the spanner in the works when they play HSOB this weekend. Horouta will look to capitalise on the momentum and morale of their victory last weekend.
This weekend’s games will be a good test of how the teams stack up as they prepare for next week’s semifinals.
Boys’ High and OBR meet in the other match.
Notwithstanding another upset, it is expected that the elimination semifinals will feature the same match-ups as this weekend.
Either Boys’ High or OBR could snatch first place from HSOB, but results would have to go their way. HSOB have built a strong net run rate — with dominant wins and close defeats — that will be hard to overcome.
In overcoming favourites OBR last weekend, Horouta showed that almost anything can happen in cricket.
Their captain, David Situ, said they were looking for a repeat performance tomorrow.
“I told the guys, ‘This is what happens when everyone plays to their potential’.”
He said HSOB were looking like the strongest team in the competition and he expected them to come out “firing” again tomorrow.
Horouta had been focusing on “individual work-ons” this week, targeting their shortcomings as they looked to peak towards the business end of the competition, Situ said.
Horouta will look to field their strongest side so far this season, with a full complement available.
HSOB will be without regular captain Carl Shaw again this weekend and Jak Rowe will again fill that role.
Rowe said winning the game and securing their top spot on the table was important to the team and their confidence leading into the semifinals.
HSOB expected a fiery Horouta side to “come out fighting, with a lot of passion”, but HSOB would look to play the game on their own terms, he said.
“For us, we want to continue on from last week and fine-tune the little things leading to the finals.”
OBR captain Ian Loffler said it had been great to see the Boys’ High side back in the premier grade.
Loffler said his team would look to use their experience and “do the little things better” to overcome the youngsters.
“I’ve watched a lot of them grow up and mature. They look like they are enjoying their cricket, and they have a good team spirit.”
He will take the field against his son Cohen Loffler, who plays for Boys’ High, and says he’s been looking forward to trying to get one up on his son.
OBR’s keys to victory were not giving their wickets away, taking their catches and “fighting hard to win vital moments”, Loffler said.
GBHS coach Mal Trowell said Loffler had coached a lot of the Boys’ High players as they went through age-grade cricket.
“It’s a little bit of banter that we have. The boys will be looking forward to it and getting one over their old coach.”
He said GBHS were eager to “right the wrongs” of last week and would be looking to do the little things right and focus on their roles in the field.
“The energy was a bit flat (last week); it flowed through the team.”
Boys’ High are strong in the field, but Trowell is hoping they can “pick it up” with the bat.
They will have Nicholas Hendrie back. He was unavailable last Saturday, and Trowell will hope the South African’s experience provides the foundation for a competitive run total.