Uni look to topple Suburbs in Jeff Crowe Cup

Friday, January 11, 2013

Uni coach Barrington Rowland

After five rounds of two-day matches the Jeff Crowe Cup comes back into focus tomorrow afternoon as the countdown begins to the one-day competition final which will be held on the first weekend of March.

With a new format in place this season all 14 sides are still mathematically capable of qualifying for the latter stages with three rounds of group matches to go. While the top side in each of the two groups will automatically qualify for the semi-finals, the second and third-placed teams in each group will face off to determine the other two semi-finalists.

This change has ensured that all clubs are still very much in the equation after the Christmas break, and after just missing out on the semi-finals last year, Auckland University are hoping to go one better this time around. However 2013 could not get off to a tougher start as they face the only unbeaten side in the competition The Fox Suburbs New Lynn at Colin Maiden Park.

University coach Barrington Rowland is no stranger to tomorrow afternoon`s opponents after coaching Suburbs before making the switch to Varsity, and he is certain his current club is more than capable of springing an upset: "We beat Howick in our last one-day game before Christmas and now as a team I think we believe in ourselves that we can beat Suburbs.

"This is the challenge for us, it is what playing competitive cricket is all about. We want to beat the best team and I am definitely looking forward to playing against my old club. There will certainly be a bit of banter on the field, I saw a lot of those boys grow up and I always enjoy playing against them."

University almost defeated Suburbs in the second round of the Jeff Crowe Cup last season, eventually losing out by just 16 runs, and Rowland is hoping his side can finish the job this time around: "The key is just backing ourselves and playing to our game plan while using our home advantage. We have a lot of good young guys coming through who are confident while Suburbs have lost one or two players so I think it will be a good challenge and we are really looking forward to it."

Two teams who have won three out of four one-day matches clash at Windsor Park where ILG East Coast Bays face Howick Pakuranga. Bays are not short on match practice with no fewer than four players representing Auckland 'A' in the Provincial tournament in Canterbury last week.

Defending champions Takapuna have been in superb form in all formats of the game this year and they will look to continue that run when they face Parnell at Onewa Domain. The hosts won three of their four one-day matches before Christmas while the visitors, with two wins to their name, need a victory to remain in contention for a finals berth.

New World Victoria Park Grafton United are the other side with three victories, which is good enough to see them sitting in third place on the Blue Section ladder. They travel to Devenport Domain tomorrow to face North Shore who were the form team of the premier cricket competition leading into the Christmas break as they racked up three consecutive outright wins to take them to the top of the Minor Championship.

Barfoot & Thompson Waitakere City sit just three points away from a play-off spot in the Blue Section but face a stern test of their finals aspirations when they meet Cornwall on their home patch of Cornwall Park, although the dangerous home side secured just one victory in their opening four one-day matches.

In the final two matches it is do or die for all the sides involved. Defeat will almost certainly end finals hopes, while victory will keep the dream alive for another week when HRV Birkenhead City meet Ellerslie at the War Memorial and Eden Roskill take on Papatoetoe at Keith Hay Park.

Jeff Crowe Cup Standings

White Section:
Takapuna                                                  9
ILG East Coast Bays                                   9
Auckland University                                  6
North Shore                                              6
HRV Birkenhead City                                 3
Cornwall                                                   3
Eden Roskill                                              0

Blue Section:
The Fox Suburbs New Lynn                     12
Howick Pakuranga                                    9
New World Victoria Park Grafton United    9
Barfoot & Thompson Waitakere City          6
Parnell                                                      6
Ellerslie                                                    3
Papatoetoe                                               3

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