Round two matches promise lively sport

New Plymouth Old Boys lead the Taranaki premier grade two-day cricket competition heading into round two, starting today.

The defending champions picked up maximum batting and bowling bonus points when beating Stratford outright in round one and sit top of the table with 16 points.

Old Boys are holding a one-point lead over New Plymouth Marist United, with Woodleigh (12) and Hawera United (8) making up the top four.

The bonus point system introduced this season is aimed at promoting positive play and encourages declarations.

Old Boys get the chance to build on their early lead when hosting Inglewood at New Plymouth's Western Park today. Old Boys are expected to be at full strength on day one but, apart from missing their rep players next week, will be without first-round century maker and fast bowler Wesley Morrick.

The club professional heads to South Africa early next week to coach a junior MCC team in a tournament there. However, Morrick plans to be back in the province in time for the start of the third round of the competition on January 5.

Inglewood are fifth on the table with seven points and have lost some of the momentum they built up in the one-day round robin, including losing their one-day semifinal after finishing second top qualifier.

There is sure to be plenty of interest in the match between the two school sides, with Francis Douglas Memorial College hosting New Plymouth Boys' High School.

The sides are evenly matched and will welcome back their adult rep players, Dion Ebrahim (Boys' High) and Peter Ingram (Francis Douglas).

Woodleigh have a busy weekend ahead and are away to Stratford today, before fronting up at Pukekura Park tomorrow to play New Plymouth Marist United in the one-day competition final.

In the remaining match, Marist United host Hawera United at Lynmouth Park in what is expected to be an evenly fought contest.

The weather this week has made preparing grass wickets difficult, with groundsmen yesterday mopping up excess water and hoping the sun will be shining this morning to enable play to get under way on time.

Under the rules matches in the two-day competition cannot be transferred to artificial pitches.

Taranaki Daily News