Day-dreaming about sport

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

The current Covid-19 lockdown has given Sideline Sid plenty of time to day-dream about the upcoming cricket season, pandemic allowing.

Another likely test match, multiple international team visits and the ICC Women's World Cup, will see a multitude of action at the Bay Oval.

Bay of Plenty Cricket fans have plenty to look forward to with the senior representative team on the cusp of another Hawke Cup Direct Challenge.

The Hawke Cup, which is the symbol of New Zealand Cricket minor association superiority, was presented by Lord Hawke in 1910 and is amongst the oldest cricket trophies contested in the country.

Bay of Plenty have proud history in Hawke Cup competition, since their Hawke Cup first match in 1932, which was also the first representative match of the fledgling provincial association.

Over the ensuing years, Bay of Plenty have contested 34 direct challenges, winning 16, losing 17, with one encounter abandoned because of inclement weather.

However, the last decade has seen the Bay team become a heavyweight of the Hawke Cup competition.

A record of two successful challenges and eight defenses since 2013, provide the ammunition to suggest that Bay of Plenty is the leading minor association in the country.

Bay of Plenty holds the record for the highest team score in Hawke Cup history - twice.

Then holders, Hamilton, posted 255 against the Bay in January 2013 before the visitors batted the Waikato side out of the match, when they put 701 runs on the board.

Brett Hampton (194) and current ND captain Joe Carter (187) were relentless in chasing runs, with Bharat Popli who fell one short of a century and Mitch McCann (69), making significant contributions.

Four years later almost to the day, the Bay side went on another rampage before again being dismissed for 701.

Yorkshire professional Alex Lees, who was on Southern Hemisphere cricket sabbatical, smashed his way into Bay of Plenty Cricket history with 223 runs.

Donavan Deeble, who was better known as a bowler posted his maiden representative century, getting to 108 before being dismissed.

Skipper Peter Drysdale (84) Ben Musgrave (61) and Sean Davey (53) all broke through the half-century barrier on their teams way to equaling the Hawke Cup top score.

Bay of Plenty need to take some points from the match against Northland at the start of the season, to cement a Hawke Cup Direct Challenge in early 2022.

The Bay of Plenty side has experience in spades and several young guns that give the team a good balance heading into the representative challenges of the new season.

Peter Drysdale seems to have been around forever and heads the Bay of Plenty appearances with a record 115 games.

The trio of ND players in Joe Carter, Brett Hampton and Bharat Popli are all match winners, but their availability will depend on their Northern Districts commitments.

New Zealand Under 19 players in Fergus Lellman, Ben Pomare and Tim Pringle along with Taylor Bettelheim and Niven Dovey, are the promise of the future and much will be heard of them in future representative competition.


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