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Weather key to weekend wicket action

CRICKET.

Tomorrow should be a cracker.

All 10 of the Poverty Bay Cricket Association’s senior club teams will be hoping not to lose a third weekend in four to rain.

Defending Senior B champions Bollywood Stars High School Old Boys Presidents, under Ollie Needham, are keen to show their wares against Campion College.

“We’ll try to play good cricket — bat positively, bowl to plans and hold our catches in the field — against a Campion side led by Liam Spring and coached by Mark Naden,” Needham said.

Needham’s side have a varied and interesting array of bowlers — Mahmood Khan and Jake Theron both have a good out-swinger, Kyle Jean-Louis has a big in-swinger, Anil Kumar has fair pace, Yegan Lanka is a whirr of arms, legs (plus the odd unplayable ball) and Nic Armour’s deceptive slow bowling give the attack options and balance.

Tall wicketkeeper Needham, Marius Weyers and Nathan Quimpo are three of the old students’ best with the bat, while Jeff Chambers made a century last season. In the absence of senior statesman Glen Udall, a big contribution may be required of someone.

Mark Naden’s young Campion unit will take good midweek form into tomorrow’s clash on Harry Barker Reserve No. 4.

Gloveman Daniel Baillie made 22 against the Gisborne Boys’ High School Admiralty and all-rounder Connor Starck (21) also impressed. Their improvement will make the job of opening bat Spring and his partner Hamish Swann easier over time.

“We hope the weather plays its part,” Naden said.

“We want accurate bowling and patience with the bat, and we need to attack the ball in the field.”

Rawhiti Legal OBR set the pace in last year’s competition and Gisborne Boys’ High School (2) didn’t win a game.

Boys’ High will have to produce a huge upset to beat OBR, but their foremost aim is to play good cricket: post 100-plus with the bat, take wickets with the new ball, bowl good spin and hold their catches on HBR 3.

These can do these things. Kelan Bryant made 62 from 48 balls against Ngatapa in Round 4 last year. In the Round 14 rematch, Bekko Page took 5-37 and scored 24 from 45 batting at No.2. If Boys’ High (2) put their minds to it, they can compete.

But it is a big ask. Last year, OBR beat Horouta by 95 runs, 143 runs and — in the 1 v 4 semifinal — 10 wickets. This is a true measure of the Craig Christophers-led team’s resolve when they see a need to stamp their authority.

OBR play the game in an excellent spirit but that doesn’t mean they should take it easy on the younger team — and it certainly doesn’t mean that their batsmen should retire.

Classically, a batsman’s job is always to score as many runs as possible as quickly as he can to give his team the best chance of victory.

That said, Lytton High School deputy principal Christophers never stops being an educator.

“OBR’s plan is to set a high standard of sportsmanship and an example for the young GBHS players to follow,” he said.

“We must be careful to do the basics well — take our chances. Kavidu Withanage is a Boys’ High cricketer we’ll watch out for with the bat, as he was an OBR Sharks player in the Junior Colts League. We’re aware of his abilities.”

Up for grabs for the first time this season will be the former Netball Challenge Cup — now Challenge Cup — donated by the Ngatapa Rugby and Sports Club. OBR will play GBHS for it tomorrow.

The Civil Project Solutions Ngatapa Green Caps will miss regular captain Mike Gibson for their match against Horouta on the practice wicket. They will also miss ace keeper Simon Wilson, who landed heavily in a basketball game at the YMCA on Tuesday night. The Caps will have pace bowler Ryan West back on deck, and game-day skipper will be Ben Holden.

Ngatapa won their Round 1 game with Campion by four wickets, while The Waka beat Boys’ High by 165 runs. Aside from a social game against HSOB, this will be for Ngatapa (as for every other club) only their second game of the season, one month in.

Horouta’s Kayley Knight made 59 and James Craig 47 from Nos 5 and 6 respectively on October 30. They need to back up — three weeks later.