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