Premier Preview: Returning players spice up competition
The Premier club cricket season is back for the 2017/18 season with the first round of Jeff Crowe Cup action getting underway this Saturday October 7th.
Teams have been working hard over the winter, with a bit of movement around the traps in both coaching and playing personal.
In our third and final edition of ‘Premier Preview’ we look at how Cornwall, Birkenhead, Parnell, Ellerslie and Suburbs New Lynn are shaping up for 2017/18.
Noteworthy: Three Jeff Crowe Cup finals in three years, dangerous white ball side.
Big hitting South African Brian Barnard is back for Cornwall this year after plenty of runs with the blade in 2016/17.
Coach Rex Smith says he is hoping for another big season from Barnard.
“Brian was our leading run scorer last season and has now familiarised himself with Auckland conditions. Ultimately, he has ambitions to play short form cricket for Auckland so he needs to put runs on the board to impress the selectors,” says Smith.
While Brad Chemaly departs the club for the UK, Teja Nidamanuru returns after a season down in Otago.
“I see Teja as a strike batter no question, but he’s also trying to develop his game and have a broader aspect to it. We are also looking forward to using his bowling especially in the short form,” says Smith.
While you can’t question the white ball form of Cornwall in recent years, it’s the two-day effort they are looking to improve going into the new season.
“The biggest stat that stood out was wickets taken in two-day cricket. We were the worst achieving in that area by a long way, so we have talked about that with the bowlers. We are aiming for a top four finish, that’s the goal at this point,” says Smith.
MAN IN THE STANDS SAYS: I saw a bit of the National Club Champs last season and Teja Nidamanuru blasted a blistering century off just 50 balls. There could be some fireworks at Cornwall Park this season!
Birkenhead City CC
Noteworthy: Three batsmen in the top ten run getters in 2016/17, settled side.
Other than losing last season’s captain Darrin Crook, the Birkenhead CC side has a settled look to it with hopes of breaking into the top division of the two-day competition.
“For us we play match by match, we want to play positive cricket and want to win the two-day comp and play with the top guys,” says player/coach Akash Christian.
Tony Treadaway is back at the top of the order for BCCC and will lead the side with Christian hoping to utilise the new competition structure.
“The new points system is something positive from ACA, we will play attacking cricket and it will suit us if we can score runs like last year,” he says.
Christian says his side were “not far off” in 2016/17 with the team using last season’s one run Twenty20 semi-final loss to Grafton as motivation they can compete with the top sides.
“We had a good experience last year, we have a young side, a talented group of guys and the experience last year helped us a lot and hopefully we can improve on it this year.”
“The lads are ready to go,” says Christian.
Expect a bold showing from Birkenhead City Cricket Club in 2017/18.
MAN IN THE STANDS SAYS: While it didn’t all go to plan last year for Birkenhead, they have some quality at the top of the order. If they can pile on the runs, anything’s possible.
Noteworthy: No more Tim McIntosh at the top of the order, look to have recruited well in the off-season.
A couple of “great acquisitions” have Parnell coach Ian Trott and captain Dave Goddard optimistic of Parnell’s chances of going one better in the Hedley Howarth Championship after finishing second last season.
Dean van Deventer adds some punch to the bowling attack while former Otago representative Brad Rodden will slot into the middle order for 2017/18.
Andy Lane also joins the Parnell ‘Peaches’ this season from East Coast Bays, someone Goddard is excited to play with.
“Laneo found the succulent smell of the spring peach harvest too hard to resist and is looking forward to hopefully benefit from the fruits of his labour,” says Goddard.
“Andy Lane wants to play for Auckland and has made no secret of that fact so someone with a bit of ambition is good,” says Trott.
Tim McIntosh has hung up the whites giving the young brigade at Parnell a chance to cement their spots at the top of the order.
The ‘Peaches’ are starting their campaign away from home, with Shore Road not far away from being ready but Trott has full faith in his side to deal with the situation.
“It’s not ideal but the guys are mature enough to accommodate not playing at home to start,” he says.
“With the new points system, we will be targeting outright wins. In the long run if you are playing positive stuff even if you miss first innings you can get six points for an outright win.”
With a strong second side coached by the evergreen Roy Goodyear, Parnell are once again a side with plenty of firepower and will no doubt be in the mix come March.
MAN IN THE STANDS SAYS: No question this side has talent. Runs will be high on the priority list to give captain Goddard a chance to spice up his declaration game.
Noteworthy: Overseas assistance from left arm spinner Josh Haywood, Sussex.
It’s back to basics for Ellerslie CC this season with a new look side taking the field at Michaels Ave for 2017/18.
Coach Kaushik Patel has his first full season in charge this year and has been getting his team fit and ready for the season ahead.
“No matter what format you are playing it’s still about the basics of the game,” says Patel.
The club will be captained by Aditya Edekar and have a left arm spinner from Sussex in the form of Josh Haywood.
“[Former captain] Matt Wall has gone overseas but we’ve gained some young players with perhaps a lack of experience but there is no lack of enthusiasm and passion,” says Patel.
“We have changed focus a bit – last year it was all two-day we were concentrating on. As a club we had a meeting and we decided to put our effort into all three formats.”
Don’t count out a young Ellerslie side for the 2017/18 season.
MAN IN THE STANDS SAYS: Dark horse, one to watch with the young pairing of Edekar and Dipesh Patel leading the way.
Suburbs New Lynn CC
Reigning Twenty20 champions Suburbs New Lynn are primed for another season, but as well as defending their T20 crown, it’s their two-day form they are looking to improve.
“I think two-day cricket is the priority, I think we under achieved there last season, so my planning has been with that in mind,” says incoming coach Shoruban Pasupati.
“Sometimes you have to accept that you could lose in order to win some of the close ones by dangling the carrot and trying to get them to go for it. I loved the new points system as soon as I saw it.”
Pre-season has been going “really, really well” according to Pasupati and he says he can’t wait for Saturday to rip into another season.
“My philosophy stays true, it’s all about improvement, improving every player and giving him the tools to succeed on Saturday or Wednesday, he says.”
Victor Davies is back from Northern Districts and Counties and he will captain Suburbs this season assisted by Josh Presland and Jonny Bassett-Graham as vice captains.
Eli Meenhorst joins the fast bowling ranks from Kumeu, someone who will charge in and add a bit of punch to the bowling attack.
With Ken Maunder Park out of action this summer, Suburbs are hoping to make Eastdale Reserve their fortress, Pasupati with mixed emotions when Takapuna come to visit in round six of the Jeff Crowe Cup.
“I love the Taka boys and I’m sure Andre will have them fizzing. It will be a bit of a weird one but one thing is for sure I’ll have some good plans for those batters!”
MAN IN THE STANDS SAYS: The ‘caring wizard’ Pasupati worked wonders at Takapuna can he wave his wand at Suburbs and get them back in the Hedley Howarth Championship? Odds on.