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Schoolboy scrap in Hope Cup


There’s no getting away from it.

Nelson Park No.3 is the venue for tomorrow’s 30-over Hope Cup clash between Gisborne Boys’ High School and Campion College.

The artificial wicket will test the capacity of cricketers reared on the Harry Barker Reserve grass pitches to adjust in terms of line and length for bowlers, and shot selection/execution for batsmen.

“You just have to wait for the bad ball and, when it comes, put it away,” said Campion captain Liam Spring, one of the most improved players of his age in Poverty Bay.

“We’re excited to be playing against Boys’ High — a team of similar age and ability. It’s a good opportunity for our batsmen to make runs.”

Wicket-keeper/batsman Spring and GBHS skipper Daniel Stewart will require their bowlers to be disciplined.

“I think it will be a close and entertaining game,” said Stewart, who sees the teams as evenly-matched.

Both sides contain pace-bowling all-rounders of great promise and the game could also feature off- and leg-spin of a good standard.

Those bowlers need to be extra accurate on the astro turf.

The High School Old Boys’ Presidents v Coastal Ultrasound Horouta clash on No.3 at Harry Barker Reserve could be a thriller.

Horouta captain Heyan Ranasinghe is coming off a brilliant unbeaten 128 against GBHS Colts while keeper-batsman Terry Te Moananui will want to score at least one more run than the 49 he achieved against the Colts.

HSOB captain Isaac Hughes said they were looking forward to a grass pitch.

“That’ll make for a challenging game,” said Hughes, whose side have new bowlers of quality in seamers Jake Theron and Ash Singh, who will be relied on to take early wickets.

“We’re aware that Horouta have a strong team so we’ll have to be on our game to get the big guns out.”

Veteran Mike Francis (4-11 off six overs v Campion in Round 1) will be on deck for a HSOB crew possibly still smarting after their eight-wicket loss to Rawhiti Legal Old Boys Rugby last Saturday. OBR captain/opener Craig Christophers made 65 off 75 in that game. His patience and ability to put the bad ball away was of inestimable importance.

Horouta face a much tougher test this week and will need to collect runs between boundaries.

HSOB will look to openers Ollie Needham and Glen Udall to fire whether they are setting a target or responding.

If HSOB bat first, 180 would be a par score. If Horouta are put in to bat, 200-plus would make a juicy game of it.

The turf wickets at Harry Barker played fairly last week and Christophers and Ian Loffler of OBR are just the men to take advantage of anything the No.1 pitch has to offer.

Opposing them will be a Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps outfit with the ammunition to give their more experienced opponents a push.

Jock Spence scored an unbeaten 50 against GBHS in Round 1. Seamer Jimmy Maher took 4-22 against Campion last Saturday.

Even one year on from winning the Hope Cup, Ngatapa remain a relatively unknown quantity.