One-day­ers to start club sea­son

Waikato Times - - Sport - AARON GOILE

For the first time since Twenty20 was in­tro­duced to the Hamil­ton pre­mier club cricket calendar nine years ago, the as­so­ci­a­tion won’t look to open their sea­son with the short­est for­mat.

Play gets un­der way this week­end - a week later than its usual first-Saturday-in-Oc­to­ber start time - with the play­ers to get straight into 50-over mode, in the Hamil­ton/Waikato Val­ley com­bined lim­ited-overs com­pe­ti­tion.

To start off, Hamil­ton’s six clubs - Marist-Sub­urbs, Hamil­ton Boys’ High School, Fraser-Tech (Pool One), Star Univer­sity, Old Boys and Melville (Pool Two) - join six from the Val­ley - Mor­rinsville, Otoro­hanga, Hin­uera (Pool One), de­fend­ing champions Cam­bridge, St Paul’s Col­le­giate School and Te Awa­mutu (Pool Two) - in a five­week com­pe­ti­tion on ar­ti­fi­cial pitches, with a fi­nal to be staged some­time after­wards.

The win­ner of the com­pe­ti­tion (or the high­est-placed non-school side) will also dou­ble as the qual­i­fier for the North­ern Dis­tricts club cham­pi­onship semi­fi­nals, elim­i­nat­ing the need for one play­off round.

It will be the sec­ond sea­son of the com­bined com­pe­ti­tion, which last year came after the sched­uled three-week sea­son-opening Richard Do­dun­ski Tro­phy T20 com­pe­ti­tion, which was also to be a com­bined one be­tween the as­so­ci­a­tions for the first time.

How­ever, after the first three week­ends of last sea­son were washed out, the play­ers’ first taste of ac­tion was the 50-over ver­sion, with Hamil­ton going on to play their own Tues­day evening T20 com­pe­ti­tion later in the sum­mer.

Hamil­ton Cricket gen­eral man­ager Ru­pert Hodg­son said that for­mat would again run this sea­son - start­ing in late Jan­uary - and, in turn, with the un­pre­dictable spring weather, it was also de­cided to start the sea­son a week later than nor­mal.

It may be the last of the mid­week T20s though, with Sun­days a likely op­tion in fu­ture, in or­der to ease the load on ground staff, who would find it more prac­ti­cal to pro­duce pitches for back-to­back days rather than have days in be­tween.

The Eddy Marr Bowl, com­pris­ing one-day­ers and two-day­ers will start on Novem­ber 18, with the aim for that week­end to be the first on grass wick­ets.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tive sea­son be­gins one week be­fore that, with the first round of the Fer­gus Hickey Rose­bowl on Novem­ber 11-12, which, along with the sec­ond round on Novem­ber 25-26, counts for Hawke Cup points to earn a chal­lenge against hold­ers Bay of Plenty.

Hamil­ton are in prime po­si­tion, atop the stand­ings on 30 points - nine ahead of sec­ond-placed North­land - and will this sea­son have Brook Hatwell as player/coach for a sec­ond sea­son, hav­ing been the only ap­pli­cant for the role. Fel­low player Michael Do­dun­ski was a co­coach last sum­mer, but will take charge of the B side.

Mean­while, Poverty Bay are draw­ing back their in­volve­ment in the rep sea­son, as they look to fo­cus on build­ing their depth and be­com­ing more com­pet­i­tive.

The peren­nial strug­glers - who sit last on the six-team Hawke Cup stand­ings, on six points - will still host Waikato Val­ley in round one to en­sure each side has played them for the calendar-year Hawke Cup points, but then will for­feit their game in round two, as its against hold­ers Bay of Plenty any­way.

Poverty Bay will then play games against the as­so­ci­a­tions’ B sides, though they will still com­pete in the North­ern Dis­tricts lim­ited-overs com­pe­ti­tion - the Brian Dunning Cup, in Taupo in De­cem­ber, which is this sea­son going to fea­ture only T20s, rather than also one-day­ers.

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