Tasman Premier League club cricket begins on Saturday 5 October with one newcomer, but the usual favourites. Peter Grigg previews the coming season.
Taylors Contracting Wanderers/Motueka is the result of a merging of Wanderers and Motueka clubs, which have both been in decline over recent years to the point where recently neither had been able to field a competitive senior team.
The new team will be largely made of a core of Wanderers regulars, backed with about five promising Motueka up-and-comers and a couple of overseas pros.
Boe Bamford is one of those highly touted youngsters who we will watch with interest. Englishman Max Mannering will be the player/coach. He is an off spinner who will get plenty of overs and is a handy batsman.
Zade Mohamnard, an Afghan out of England, is a genuine left arm quick who has been released from his English club side. Hayden Ingham, the old hand from Wanderers, will no doubt also provide support with middle innings overs.
The Car Company Stoke/ Nayland will be looking to carry on the good form of the past couple of seasons, but obviously clean sweeping the silverware twice is a hard act to follow.
They will need to be more consistent with the bat this season, especially as the ageing bowling attack packs a bit less punch. This outfit know how to win however and will aspire to play some positive cricket and build towards another tilt at the Central Districts Club Championship in February.
The Nelson College 1st XI will have their usual battles. They will be losing a number of senior players as they depart their scholarly ways. However, college have retained the gangly opening bowler Jarrod McKay and he should be well supported by his younger sibling Kaleb. Finn Restieaux is an extremely gifted batsman and leg spinner and a lot will be expected from his now experienced shoulders.
ACOB have had a very solid preseason and apart from Nic Clark have their entire 2018/19 squad returning for the upcoming campaign. They will also welcome quick Nibu Jose, who is a very talented youngster with overseas experience who is fairly new to Nelson. There are a few former players coming back to their roots as well.
Wakatu have a few player changes from a somewhat inconsistent effort last season.
Skipper Devon Serrurier is unavailable due to work and family commitments so Campbell McLean will be leading the side around the paddock. Also absent this year is opening bowler Cody Golding who has relocated to Blenheim. As previously mentioned, Wakatu reap the benefits from Nelson College as school leavers Hughes, Aitken and MacAlister join the club. Daniel Hooper will once again be performing coaching duties.
With a string of inconsistent performances last season, Wakatu will be looking to improve on their results and make the TPL semi-finals this year.
WTTU will be led again by bowling all-rounder Sam Baxendine. He will be surrounded by some of the experienced senior leaders from last year; Joey O’Connor, Mason Thelin and Tom Cross, all of whom will be expected to make major contributions.
The only major loss from last season is all – rounder Kurt Thompson to Australia. He will leave a major gap both with bat and ball.
Round one sees Nelson College hosting new boys Wanders/Motueka at Ngawhatu and ACOB travelling out to challenge Stoke/Nayland at Marsden Rec. Wakatu will be on the road to Blenheim playing Falcons at Horton 1 while WTTU play Dolphins on the adjoining pitch. All fixtures begin at 11.30am.