Three contracted Northern Knights will line up for Bay of Plenty when they light the touch paper on the representative cricket season at Tauranga Domain over the weekend.
They’ll be joined by a talented batsman looking to revive his career at first class level, and a feisty spin-bowling all-rounder with plenty of experience in ND colours.
A healthy quota of rising young talent will be on display for the team too as they take on Hawkes Bay in two 20 over engagements tomorrow, and a 50 over match on Sunday.
The matches are pre-season hitouts for the two teams, but there’s plenty riding on them.
To ensure the traditional Battle of the Bays rivalry lives on the two associations have decided to make it an annual event, and put a trophy on the line to spice up their encounters further.
The winner of the three match series will take home the Howell Family Cup, named after father John and sons Llorne and Glynn, who had close links with both provinces.
Llorne had the highest profile of the family, reaching the Blackcaps in the late 1990s.
Bay of Plenty’s strength with be boosted by the inclusion of three players not required by Northern Districts for Plunket Shield duties in Christchurch due to the number of Blackcaps players available to them this week.
Explosive batting all-rounder Brett Hampton, who’s played 44 white ball matches in Knights colours, will line up on both days for the home side, and will be joined tomorrow by newly ND-contracted quick bowler Sean Davey and stylish top order batsman Bharat Popli for Sunday’s match.
The side will be captained by Joe Carter, who has taken over the reins from long-serving skipper Peter Drysdale.
After debuting for Northern in the 2013-14 season and making a big impact with six 50s and an average of 44.93 Carter’s career has fallen on harder times, to the point where he hasn’t been required for them since March 2017.
He remains in the ND wider squad however and will be keen to use the Bay of Plenty rep programme to boost his claims for a recall to the higher level.
He looks to be taking good form into the weekend, and to have done his chances of an ND recall no harm, with a sparking hundred in Northern Districts A’s 24 run win over Auckland A yesterday in a one-dayer in Hamilton.
Sean Davey had a handy outing with the ball in the match as well, taking three wickets for 38 runs off 9.2 overs.
Jono Boult is another familiar name making an appearance for the side this weekend. The stingy right arm spinner, who finished his 47 Super Smash matches for the Knights with a highly respectable economy rate of 7.17, will play tomorrow’s two T20s on his Cadets club home ground.
Wanganui-born left-handed batsman Henry Collier, a former New Zealand under 19 representative, will be looking to make an impression, as will a number of teenage prospects.
Year 11 Tauranga Boys’ College student Tim Pringle, who became Bay of Plenty’s youngest ever debutante last season at the age of 15, will be delivering his left-arm spin on both days, and will be joined by fellow TBC students Dominic Crombie, Iman Singh and Ben Pomare, and Aquinas College’s Fergus Lellman.
“A lot of it is to do with giving them a taste and seeing the standard at the next level,” says BOPCA Convener of Selectors Tai Bridgman-Raison. “Particularly against a team like Hawkes Bay who will be very strong.”
The weekend’s cricket will serve a number of purposes, says Tai.
“It’s the ideal preparation as a lead-in to the men’s representative season, and a chance to try different combinations and roles among the playing group, as we look ahead to the ND T20 tournament in December.
“It’ll be challenging cricket which is exactly what we want from a pre-season hit out.
“The selectors have gone with a mixture of experience and youth as we look to develop depth in the squad.”
The Bay of Plenty team for Saturday’s two T20 matches:
Jono Boult, Sean Davey, Joe Carter (captain) Peter Drysdale, Brett Hampton, Henry Collier, Tim Pringle, Ben Musgrave, Blair McKenzie, Dominic Crombie, Iman Singh, Chris Atkinson.
Match 1 start: 10am
Match 2 start: 1pm
Team for Sunday’s 50 over match:
Stephen Crossan, Henry Collier, Peter Drysdale, Joe Carter (captain) Ben Musgrave, Tim Pringle, Ben Pomare, Fergus Lellman, Dan Smith, Chris Atkinson, Bharat Popli , Brett Hampton
Sunday’s match begins at 10am.