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Absorbing rivalry continues

Campion aiming to win two from three against Ngatapa.

Can Campion make it two from three against Ngatapa?

One of the most absorbing rivalries in Senior B club cricket will have its last chapter in round-robin play for this 15-week season written at the Harry Barker Reserve tomorrow from 2pm.

The Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps beat Mark Naden’s Campion College team by 97 runs a fortnight into the quest for the Hope Cup, while the December 12 rematch saw super-fast bowling by Blake Marshall (3-30) and Luke Hurlstone (3-36) lay the platform for a four-wicket win to Campion.

The college (nine competition points) and Ngatapa (24) are set to clash for the third time this season on Harry Barker Reserve No.3.

Ngatapa have bowled well there to date, veteran off-spinners Jeremy Castles (3-15) and Grant Walsh (2-21) joining forces with seamer Harry White (2-19), on his debut, to great effect in the first meeting.

Paceman Ryan West (2-17) and George Whitehead (2-34) — who can swing the ball both ways — asked hard questions of Campion second time around.

Player-coach Naden, who will line up with fellow teachers Daryl Dunn and Matt King under skipper Liam Spring, had 15 players at yesterday’s training — the biggest turn-out he’s seen in his 15 years at Campion.

The Caps, led by Mike Gibson, will need to pool their all-round resources to fend off Campion but, as two-time defending champions, there is no doubt that they have significant resources.

Ollie Needham wants to get his outfit back on track tomorrow.

Bollywood High School Old Boys’ Presidents (18 competition points) beat the winless Gisborne Boys’ High School (2) by 40 runs two weeks ago but are coming off a nine-run loss to Hope Cup holders Ngatapa, one which saw them dismissed for 89 in pursuit of 98.

Last Saturday, only the determination of their skipper Mike Gibson, with his fighting 58, saw his crew finish the first innings with anything more than faint hope.

Needham made 36 and seamer Kyle Jean-Louis took a very good 4-16 in four overs in Round 11.

Presidents have opener Matt Jefferd back. He missed the clash with Ngatapa but made 66 the previous weekend.

Needham expects a hard-fought, close contest, and there is no better man to have in such situations as off-spinning all-rounder Simon Blaker. His height and bounce can make him a tough bowler to score from.

The classy batting of Jefferd and wiles of Blaker aside, HSOB have firepower in Jason Lines who last week took 2-2 in four overs, three of those being maidens.

OBR, under Jannie Jacobs this weekend, know that Lines bowls stump-to-stump — no bowler can take 4-13, all leg before wicket, as Lines did on December 5, were that not the case.

Amit Vyas, OBR’s most successful bowler last week in the seven-wicket win against Boys’ High, took 5-19 but didn’t ask the question of the umpire. Rather, he hit middle stick four times.

The teams’ batting strength is on a par, but OBR (33pts) have won 11 in a row and are enjoying their cricket.

This 1 v 3 contest on the reserve’s smallest ground — the practice wicket — can be the tight tussle that HSOB anticipate but only if they perform with the bat.

OBR’s regular captain, Craig Christophers, has made his expectations known: “Our bowlers are going to bowl an aggressive line and length; our batsmen are going to attack from ball one.”

There’s a buzz around The Waka.

And Siteworx Horouta, who have 15 points, will welcome back pace bowler Kayley Knight for their clash with Gisborne Boys’ High School on ground No.4.

Knight has been on New Zealand under-19 duty against the New Zealand Police.

Two Boys’ High batsmen have made good starts in the last fortnight — Alex Shanks with 47 against HSOB, and George Gillies with 20 against OBR.

Dylan Foster is the captain of a GBHS team who have fielded well since the resumption and left-armer Lukas Fry (2-10 against OBR) has given the attack more teeth since his return from an injury to his bowling shoulder.

But the bottom line for Gisborne Boys’ High is that, with one or two innings of consequence, they can be competitive.

They have bowled with much greater discipline than recent second 11 teams, and last week Beklo Page made the opposition not just sit up but even applaud his commitment in the field.

Mel Knight, since taking over the captaincy of Horouta, has brought stalwarts of The Waka such as long-serving left-arm orthodox spinner Clarence Campbell and talented players from the Tairawhiti Women’s Cricket Club together with firm and thoughtful leadership.

Knight senior looks closely at what her crew can get out of every match the side plays.

“We want the GBHS game to be a chance for some of our players to contribute positively, in particular those who have been struggling for runs lately.”