Now for the Twenty20s
Poverty Bay premier cricket is back in full swing this weekend — weather permitting — as the focus moves to the Walker Shield Twenty20 competition.
Teams have two T20 games tomorrow in the two-week-long competition before the start of the 40-over DJ Barry Cup.
It will be a test of how well the teams adapt to the game's shortened format.
High School Old Boys will be captained this weekend by Jak Rowe, with regular captain Carl Shaw unavailable.
Rowe sees the competition as more of a learning experience, mainly because several key players are unavailable.
“We'll be without some of our main players,” he said.
“There'll be no Carl Shaw, Scott Baxter or Angus Orsler, so we'll be bringing in some of our Hope Cup (Senior B) team, and they're fizzing about it.
“It's a good chance for our bowlers to work on their change-up balls and our batters to force the run rate.”
HSOB have their focus on the DJ Barry Cup and will use the Walker Shield games to test a “few new things” they could integrate into the longer-format game, Rowe says.
Gisborne Boys' High School coach Mal Trowell said his players were excited about being back in action.
They had a week off after their Doleman Cup final loss and since then had been back in the nets training hard.
“I told them to bring what they do in the nets and not to be scared to play their shots.”
Trowell said Boys' High would have a full complement of players this weekend, with Liam Barbier playing his last games before his move to Napier Boys' High.
It will be the first game in the GBHS strip for young all-rounder David Gray.
Gray had trained with the team last year but could not play because he wasn't yet at high school.
Trowell said that despite Gray's youth, he was a good cricketer and he wanted to get him “in the fold” straight away.
GBHS will have to bring another level of intensity to the T20 format if they are to be successful, but Trowell said he was confident they had what it took.
“The first six overs, we have to lay the foundation with the fielding restrictions in place,” he said.
Horouta captain David Situ said his players were looking forward to the T20 competition.
The format suited the playing style of Horouta's batsmen and bowlers, who liked to play aggressively, he said.
“I think it's the team dynamic,” Situ said.
“The format is a bit more suited to us. We'll enjoy playing T20s a lot more.”
Horouta will be without key players Situ, Keegan Martin and Ryan Nepe, who are all unavailable this weekend.
“It looks like rain this weekend, which could play in our favour,” Situ said.
“With three key players away, if it did rain it would be good to have all three of us back to replay the game.”
OBR's Matt Cook said the team hoped to keep up the momentum they took into their Doleman Cup final victory.
The format of T20 suited several of their batsmen who liked to score runs quickly, he said.
“Some of our boys are suited to that . . . the likes of Nick Greeks and Carl Carmody.”
OBR, however, will be without key wicket-takers Jimmy Holden and Dane Thompson.
Cook said they were both out with broken hands and would likely miss the remainder of the season.
However, he believed OBR had the depth to win despite their absence. He, Cody Andrews and Jonathan Purcell were among those who could help fill the breach.
OBR will take several players from their Hope Cup side to bolster their line-up, as they expect some players to miss one or both games because of other commitments.
“We enjoyed Christmas and the New Year break with one trophy in the cabinet,” Cook said.
“We hope to add a couple more. Winning is a good feeling.”
• Walker Shield T20 competition, TOMORROW, Harry Barker Reserve.
Round 1, 12 midday: GBHS v Horouta, umpire Jason Trowill; OBR v HSOB, umpire Stewart Patrick.
Round 2, 4pm: Horouta v OBR, umpire Stewart Patrick; GBHS v HSOB, umpire Jason Trowill.