Auckland cricket clubs chase traditional goals
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 to a man they have plans to progress when the red ball cricket starts later this month.
The North Shore'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.
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However, Adams' side has not had the best start. On Saturday, Grafton upset the reigning Jeff Crowe Cup champions, defeating Takapuna by eight wickets. Takapuna's Robbie O'Donnell (36) was his side's top scorer.
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 two-day 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 off-season, Shore have picked up journeyman Ronnie Hira to join the experienced trio of Carl Brungar, Michael Olsen and Tim Duncraft.
The team has a good blend of youth and experience with a strong culture, Beghin said.
"We recognise that the values around competitive sport carry weight in being a strong member of one's community and we hope to promote this message as ambassadors for the game and role models for younger players."
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.
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 two-day competition and vying for the Hedley Howarth title.
"We always prepare to give ourselves the best chance to win but with this group it's also about learning and being able to adapt, adjust and progress quickly," Delport said.
"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.
Connor Ridge (52) and young gun Ryan Schierhout who blasted an unbeaten 56 off just 42 balls helped Bays to 244/7. In reply, Papatoetoe were 44/3 in the 10th over, before Arminder Sohal came in and stamped his mark on the game with an unbeaten 81 to help guide his side to the required total.
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.
"For us we play match by match, we want to play positive cricket and want to win the two-day comp and play with the top guys," Christian said.
Christian was Birkenhead's leading batsman in the opening game of the one-day competition on Saturday. Batting first against Howick Pakuranga, Birkenhead were dismissed for 93. Christian scored 34. In reply Howick Pakuranga easily reached the target for a nine-wicket win.