Fri, Oct 8, 2021 12:34 PM

Cricket season is here

Ollie Jones-Allen will lead defending champions ACOB. Photo: Shuttersport.

Jonty Dine

Pitches are being prepared, bowlers are stretching muscles that have become redundant over winter and the province’s batsmen are wondering where they stored their bat and pads after last season.

On Saturday, weather permitting, the first shots in the 2021-22 Nelson cricket season will be played.

The new season’s format is similar to last year’s with a mix of shorter and longer-form cricket, plus matches against Marlborough-based rivals to add variety to the regular competitions.

First of the three main club competitions to get underway is the senior grade one-day competition.

A major change this season sees the competition reduced to a 40-over per side encounter, rather than the usual 50-over battles.

Defending champions Athletic College Old Boys will open its campaign against Wakatu at the Maitai Cricket Ground, T20 champions Stoke/Nayland will take on Waimea Toi Toi United at Jubilee Park and Nelson College will travel to Mapua to meet Wanderers.

Skipper Ollie Jones-Allen says his side is looking to replicate the success of the previous two seasons.

“Obviously hard to repeat last year’s performances in the Tasman Premier League but our aim is to three-peat the league.”

The squad is looking settled with the acquisition of Tayla Brown from Wakatu, Central Hind Kate Gaging, Martin Slabbert from the Old Boys Club in Christchurch, and Liam Baird.

The side has lost Nibu Jose to Wakatu and Shane White from its championship winning side but gains Nelson College stars Jonty Raxworthy and Finn Restieaux.

The Zhorab twins, David and Thomas, will be key to ACOB’s success.

ACOB won back to back 50-over titles in 2020. Photo: Shuttersport.
ACOB won back to back 50-over titles in 2020. Photo: Shuttersport.

Wakatu has suffered significant losses in the off-season with Fergus Hughes moving to Ireland to study and opening bowlers Cody Golding and Damian Aitken to Christchurch.

However, these have been somewhat offset with the return of Daniel Hooper from injury who will take over the keeping duties with semi-retired Mason Robinson on call.

Also, back after three years away with family duties is Dhamesha Rathnayake who will join Matt O’Sullivan and Angus Phillpot in a three-prong spin attack.

Jose from ACOB and young seamer Noah Hassan from Nelson College will bolster the bowling stocks.

The side will also feature a new skipper in centurion Bud Jackson.

Dark horses Wanderers boast a wealth of talent, spearheaded by player/coach Harsh Visavadiya.

The reigning leading run scorer in the competition last year will be looking to build on an impressive opening season with the club.

Wanderers great Joe O'Connor has returned after spending two seasons with Wakatu, the top order batsmen last year producing a Hawke Cup winning performance last year against Canterbury Country.

Stoke/Nayland has had a lean run of late after a dominant period which saw consecutive clean sweeps of all competitions.

Dylan Eginton takes over the captaincy for 2021/22 as Brendan Hodgson will miss the first month or so after surgery on a ruptured bicep tendon in the offseason.

Former Wairau left arm seamer Matt Deaker looms as a useful addition while both Ricky and Ryan Edwards will be available on a fill in basis only.

Stoke Nayland ended a disappointing season with a T20 title. Phto: Shuttersport
Stoke Nayland ended a disappointing season with a T20 title. Phto: Shuttersport

A pair of new faces coming out of the impressive Nelson College cricket factory include Jack Morris and 1st XI skipper Kaleb McKay.

Waimea Toi Toi United captain Sam Baxendine says the club is developing a young and exciting side for the future.

Following the 40-over competition matches it is on to the 2021-22 Tasman Premier League.

This top of the south tournament commences on November 6 and once again the Marlborough Labour Hire Falcons and Dolphins will represent Marlborough, alongside the six teams from Nelson.

Like last season, the TPL will comprise just one full preliminary round where each side plays one game against all the others, the seven round-robin games culminating in semi-finals on January 29, 2022, followed by a grand final the next day.

ACOB

2020- TPL champions, finished third.

Ollie Jones-Allen (c), BJ Barnett, Martin Slabbert, Thomas Zohrab, David Zohrab, Jonty Raxworthy, Ronan Restieaux, Josh Simpson, James Graham, Nic Clark, Mitchell Bailey, Finn Restieaux, Sam Berkett, Reuben Smith, Mason Lund, Kevin Dsouza, Glen Baumfield, Tayla Brown, Kate Gaging, Liam Baird, Greg Chitty.

Stoke/Nayland

2020- Runners up, finished first.

Dylan Eginton (c), Josh Smith (vc), Ben Homan, Ben Stark, Brendan Hodgson, Cameron Neame, Chris Bayard, Chris Dittmer, Darius Skeaping, Jared Silvester, John van de Schootbrugge, Kendall Hodson, Liam Clark, Matt Deaker, Richard Malcolm, Sean Neal, Tim O'Connor.

Nelson College

2020- Third.

Lucca Hemmingway, Flynn Day, Liam Day,Will Bixley, Josh Neale, Ben Neale, Lachlan Bartlett Jordy Kelso, Lucky Singh, Sam John, Logan Andrews, Jake Walters.

Wakatu

2020- Eighth.

Bud Jackson (c), Brad Smith, Tom Argyle, Dustin Emms-Healey, Campbell Mclean, Daniel Hooper, Matt O’Sullivan, Angus Phillpot, Ryan Hooper, Dhamesha Rathnayake, Lochie O’hara, Riley O’hara, Noah Hassan, Nathan DuFeu, Nibu Jose.

Waimea Toi Toi United

2020- Sixth.

Sam Baxendine (c), Jack Aldridge, Amit Dhiman, Billy Powick, Ryan Flowers, Mitchell Grant, James Ranson, Hamish Chisnall, Parth Nagpal, Alex Campion, Daniel Endersby, Lucas Hogg, Nirmal Fernando.

Wanderers

2020- Seventh.

Hayden Ingham (c), Harsh Visavadiya, Kyle Paki Paki, Jackson Harris, Alex Brogan, Logan Ogilvie, Brooklyn Wilson, Joe O'Connor, Josh Newport, Jack Morris, Kaleb Mckay.

Dolphins

2020- Fourth.

Tom Sutherland (c) Akhil Pant, Blair Timms, Corey Bovey, Jacob Zillwood, Kirk Nicholas, Michael Anstis, Patrick Dawkins, Jaden Adams, Jack Holdaway, Jerrym Lamb, Joel Logan, Josh Poole, Liam Young, Logan Robinson, Matt McCormick.

Falcons

2020- Fifth.

Matthew Stretch (c), Nick Weaver, Sam Boyce, Tarin Mason, Chris Bartholomeusz, Benjamin Ivory-McCullum, Cooper Roberts, Joel Lavender, Tim Petrie, Cameron Collins, Joel Pannell, Luke Pannell, Tom Leonard, Hunter Ruffell, Griffin Carter, Greg Stretch.

Round one fixtures:

Wanderers v Nelson College at Mapua.

WTTU vs Stoke Nayland at Jubilee Park.

ACOB v Wakatu at Maitai Cricket Ground.