Longer for­mat is cricket clubs’ fo­cus

North Shore Times - - SPORT - FELIC­ITY REID

As the Auck­land club cricket sea­son gets un­der­way, each pre­mier coach on the North Shore has some­thing in com­mon - the de­sire to lift the two-day com­pe­ti­tion sil­ver­ware.

Coaches are not dis­miss­ing the 50-over com­pe­ti­tion, which started on Satur­day, but they have plans to progress when the red ball cricket starts later this month.

The re­gion’s most suc­cess­ful club in the 2016/2017 sea­son, Taka­puna, has had changes at the top. New coach, for­mer Black Cap An­dre Adams, has in­her­ited a team that has had suc­cess in win­ning both the one-day and two-day com­pe­ti­tions. On Satur­day, Grafton up­set the reign­ing Jeff Crowe Cup cham­pi­ons, de­feat­ing Taka­puna by eight wick­ets.

North Shore missed out on the sil­ver­ware last sea­son, but re­turn­ing player-coach Graeme Beghin has big goals for his side on and off the field.

‘‘The team has am­bi­tions to win the Tom Hellaby [mi­nor two­day cham­pi­onship] and gain pro­mo­tion whilst re­main­ing com­pet­i­tive in the white ball for­mats this sea­son,’’ Beghin said.

With the exit of a cou­ple of ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers in the off­sea­son, Shore have picked up jour­ney­man Ron­nie Hira to join the ex­pe­ri­enced trio of Carl Brun­gar, Michael Olsen and Tim Dun­craft. In round one of the Jeff Crowe Cup, Shore were com­pre­hen­sively beaten by Sub­urbs New Lynn. Chas­ing Sub­urbs’ to­tal of 308, Shore were all out for 98.

‘‘We have a tal­ented group of guys’’

Louis Del­port

East Coast Bays coach Louis Del­port is push­ing for a top four fin­ish in all com­pe­ti­tions with a squad that has an av­er­age age of 20, but the main fo­cus is the two­day com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘We have a tal­ented group of guys with two young­sters who could po­ten­tially push to play New Zealand U19. We will be putting a lot of em­pha­sis on the se­nior guys step­ping up in terms of per­for­mances to al­low these young­sters to freely ex­press them­selves.’’

Bays opened their one-day cam­paign with a four wicket loss against Pa­p­a­toe­toe on Satur­day.

The Birken­head City pre­mier side has a set­tled look to it and player/coach Akash Christian has hopes of break­ing into the top divi­sion of the two-day com­pe­ti­tion. Christian (34) was Birken­head’s lead­ing bats­man in the open­ing game on Satur­day. Bat­ting first against How­ick Paku­ranga, Birken­head were dis­missed for 93. How­ick Paku­ranga eas­ily reached the tar­get for a nine-wicket win.

DAVID JOSEPH / PHOTOTEK

Taka­puna’s Rob­bie O’Don­nell was his side’s top scorer in round one of the Jeff Crowe Cup against Grafton United Cricket Club.

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