Premier cricket preview – 1 December

After a washout last Saturday, the weather looks like it will affect round three of the Hedley Howarth and Tom Hellaby Championships as well – both days are scheduled for this weekend. This round is the last one for thr two-day competitions before Christmas, next Wednesday is the start of the T20 Championship and next weekend play resumes in the Jeff Crowe Cup.

Auckland Aces involved in Club games this weekend – Finn Allen for Auckland University, Michael Barry for Suburbs New Lynn, Jamie Brown for Howick Pakuranga, Graeme Beghin for North Shore, Craig Cachopa for Takapuna, Mark Chapman for Parnell, Danru Ferns for Howick Pakuranga, Michael Guptill-Bunce for Cornwall, Ben Lister for Waitakere, Robert O’Donnell for Takapuna, Sean Solia for Suburbs New Lynn, Martin Guptill for Suburbs New Lynn.

Hedley Howarth

Cornwall v Suburbs New Lynn – Cornwall Park

Suburbs are currently sitting second on the ladder, which owes much to their demolition of Takapuna in round one. To keep that spot, they’ll need to do well at Cornwall Park. Josh Presland is taking wickets, which bodes well, and the smaller boundaries will be tempting to the Suburbs batsmen.
Cornwall, meanwhile, have spent most of the last two rounds batting. Amit and Aditya Dhadwal have looked nigh-unshakable, even as their opponents racked up maidens. If Suburbs can’t get them out, they could be in for a frustrating weekend.

Parnell v Papatoetoe – Shore Road

Parnell have their first Hedley Howarth match at Shore Road and will be looking to dispatch Papatoetoe with some efficiency. But Papatoetoe have played better than their position on the ladder suggests. Both teams score reasonably quickly, so if the weather holds out a result is firmly on the cards. Parnell will be looking to get through Papatoetoe’s batsmen without taking their foot off the throat at any point. Papatoetoe will be looking for an upset, particularly if the game doesn’t go the full distance.

Howick Pakuranga v Auckland University – Lloyd Elsmore Park

The first two rounds haven’t been great for University, they lost comprehensively to Parnell, and then Takapuna put them to the sword. They’ll be looking for a good performance to make the restart after Christmas a positive experience. Howick Pakuranga will be looking at recent form and eager to take a big victory. Ravi Botadara and Donavan Grobbelaar are both in form and if the Alpacas bat first they’ll be going out to make it a high-scoring affair.

Takapuna v East Coast Bays – Onewa Domain

To say Takapuna have had an inconsistent first two rounds is an understatement. Their last two innings were 82 all out against Suburbs and 348/7 against University. This game could hinge upon which Pirates side shows up on the day. ECB will need to get Max O’Dowd back in the sheds before he starts hitting. They’ve had two good performances at home at Windsor Park, but they will have to show they can take that performance on the road.

Tom Hellaby Championship

Waitakere v Grafton – Te Atatu Park

Grafton have had a good start to the two day competition, but they’ll have to keep that up as they head away from Victoria Park. Waitakere, on the other hand, have not had stuch a positive start – losing outright to Eden Roskill. They looked better against Ellerslie, with Todd Wannan taking five wickets, and if he can grab another handful this weekend, Grafton might find themselves under real pressure.

NSCC v Eden Roskill – Devonport Domain

After two rounds Eden Roskill and North Shore are tied on points at the top of the Tom Hellaby ladder, and both had comprehensive victories in round one. North Shore might fancy themselves slightly ahead, after Eden Roskill gave up 400 runs against Birkenhead last round. However, given the scores both teams have put on the board, whoever bowls first will be eager for early wickets.

Ellerslie v Birkenhead – Michaels Ave

Last round Birkenhead comprehensively banished their first-round batting performance against North Shore, and will be looking to carry that with them to Michaels Ave. Ellerslie also picked themselves up after round one, and both teams will be out to prove
that their first result doesn’t define them. Birkenhead might be a bit shaky in their bowling, given they haven’t had the opposition batting since the first day of the competition. Ellerslie will need to make the most of any cobwebs the Birkenhead bowlers may have to blow out.