CRV Ambreed country cricket preview

The Country Cricket season gets under way on Saturday, October 3. Photo: File
The Country Cricket season gets under way on Saturday, October 3. Photo: File
This season’s CRV Ambreed country premier cricket one-day and T20 competitions will have an unusual look.

Ohoka has been included in the premier grade, meaning a nine-team competition for the entirety of the season which opens on Saturday, October 3.

Cheviot won the 2019-2020 one day series by default due to Covid-19, so will enter the 20/21 season quietly confident it can repeat last season’s performance.

The team will be under new leadership, with Chris Burnett taking the reins as captain off the back of Harry Fitzpatrick, who left the club during the winter.

Burnett will have a lot of exciting young talent to work with in the 20/21 season. Archie Redfern will be one of the key men with the bat. Redfern will be motivated to rack up big runs to secure a batting spot in the Country Senior representative side, as well as a spot in the Canterbury Under 19 side.

Ben Hartland will be the other key batsmen for was a mainstay for the Country Senior side which won and defended the Hawke Cup in 19/20. The spin twins of Scott Burnett and Charlie Sidey will return again to offer good wicket taking ability through the middle stages of an innings. Cheviot will be excited for the post-Christmas phase of the competition which is when Angus Sidey will join their side after wrapping up his school cricket commitments with CBHS. Angus will add a different dimension to the magpies bowling attack, his pace will hurry up most batsmen throughout the competition.

Darfield, the cellar dwellers in the 2019/20 competition, will be highly motivated to improve. The squad is under the guidance of coach Shannon McAleer and will feature the talented youngster Jesse Frew. Frew will be hoping for an injury free season to give himself a chance of steering Darfield towards more successful times. Tom Dempster will play part of the season for Darfield. Dempster is an player in Canterbury attending university, and has the ability to win games with the bat. Talented allrounder Zak Foulkes leaves school at Christmas time and will join Darfield for the second part of the season. Foulkes was the leading allrounder at last season’s Gillette Cup national finals and will be hoping to be selected for the Canterbury under 19s this season. Canterbury all-rounder Henry Shipley will be available sporadically for Darfield.

Leeston-Southbridge, the under achievers in the 2019/20 season, will be coached by Toby Doyle. The teams hopes to be in title contention again, and will have the added motivation of losing the one-day final by default, due to Covid-19.

Leeston-Southbridge has a similar looking team to 2019/20. Key players will be Rupert Young and Harry Chamberlain. Both were prolific run getters during the 19/20 season and both impressed for the Country Senior team in their successful Hawke Cup campaign. Ex-Dutch international Tim Gruijters and Sam Chamberlain will return again with their all round qualities. Both had an impressive 19/20 season and are match winners in their own right with both bat and ball. The spin twins of David Neal and Will Macfarlane will be key bowlers for Lee-Bridge if they are going to be able to tie teams down. The true test will be the depth when country representative players are away. They will be boosted by the return of talented all-rounder Ben Chamberlain who is expected to return to Canterbury at Christmas time after a stint in the United States.

Lincoln was also a cellar dweller in the 19/20 season, so will be hoping for improvement this season. The big news for the Lincoln club during the winter was the signing of BLACKCAP Daryl Mitchell who has made the move south to play for Canterbury. Unfortunately for Lincoln they will not see much of him as ge will be busy for most of the season with BLACKCAP’S, NZ A and Canterbury duties.

Joe Williams will provide solidarity to Lincoln’s top order and also provide some useful off-spin. William’s performances earned him a call up to Hawke Cup duties and was part of the team which won and defended the Hawke Cup. Arthur Paterson will be the other key player for Lincoln with his right arm medium-fast bowling and useful middle order runs.

Newly promoted Ohoka ran an aggressive recruitment plan and signed several talented players from other North Canterbury clubs during the winter period, including Josh and Rhys Mariu and George Mauger from Oxford-Rangiora and Cameron Clement from Southbrook.

Will Hamilton will be a key player for Ohoka, moving back to his home club after previously representing Cheviot in the premier grade on loan. Will has the ability to be a match winner with the bat and will be an important player for other teams to dismiss early on in his innings.

The Mariu brothers will be the other key players for Ohoka, both are potential match winners with bat and ball. Josh and Rhys will both push hard to try to secure Canterbury throughout the season and are poised to play pivotal roles when Canterbury Country come to defend the Hawke Cup. Austin Hamilton (brother of Will) will be excited about the prospect of playing premier cricket. Austin has the potential to knock the top off most top orders in the competition with his accurate outswing bowling. Ohoka’s depth will be tested when the Country Senior representative side takes some key personnel away from the team.

Oxford-Rangiora, the winners of the CRV Ambreed Country Premier T20 competition in 19/20 and losing semi-finalists in the one-day competition, will be hurting after losing some key personnel in the Mariu brothers and George Mauger.

Fortunately they have signed Lachie Stove from Weedons and Liam Bartholomeusz from Riccarton to soften the blow as both players are talented all-rounders.

Nevertheless the 20/21 season could be a for they are able to muster a title challenge it will be very dependant on stalwart and player-coach David Fulton who is a mainstay in the Vikings top order and is a match winner with the bat.

Fulton amassed an impressive 447 runs in the one-day competition in the 19/20 season at an average of 74.5. Fergus Fairbairn will be a key player with his right arm fast-medium bowling. Fairbairn has the ability to knock over any top order if he hits his straps and always a danger when he has ball in hand.

Liam Bartholomeusz has the ability to take the game away from an opposition team very quickly with his clean ball striking ability. Bartholomeusz will be an exciting player to watch in the 20/21 season.

Sefton also recruited aggressively. Matt Laffey returns to the club after a few years away at Riccarton. Laffey is a match winner with the bat and will provide a solid look to the Sefton top order along with stalwart Tim Harrison. Lance Taylor also returns after a period overseas and will also provide a lot more strength to the batting line up. Fortunately for Sefton and Canterbury Country it looks like Jed Roberts’ hip flexor injury is slowly progressing to a point where he will be bowling again in the 20/21 season. The main question will be what other bowlers the at their disposal to put pressure on opposition batting line-ups. Canterbury seamer Fraser Sheat may be available at times to offer a Sefton seam attack. Youngsters Callum Simpson, Mackenzie Smith and Stan Ashwin will bring another dimension to their team once they have wrapped up their commitments with CBHS.

Southbrook BLACKCAP Shanan Stewart is returning to play club cricket again for Brook’, but it has lost Tom Rodden (Hawkes Bay), Cameron Clement (Ohoka) and Arafat Bhuiyan (UK) from last season. Stalwart Matt Brine has agreed to play premier cricket again this season and will provide a boost to the brooks batting line up. Canterbury top order batsmen Jack Boyle will be expecting to be a mainstay in the Canterbury team for the entirety of the 20/21 season, meaning he will seldom be available.

It will be dependant on the South African pair of Luan Blom and Jono Green to take wickets with the new ball. Brine and Stewart will be expected to provide a lot of the runs towards a title run, supplemented with contributions from youngster Gus Mowat.

Weedons was competitive in the 19/20 season, but didn’t quite muster enough noticeable performances to put forward a title challenge in either competition. It will be hoping that the 20/21 season will be a different story.

Talisman James Richards will return as a solid top order batsmen and will offer some quality off spin with the ball. Richards will have good support from keeper-batsmen Todd Innes who enjoyed a great run of form in the latter stages of the 19/20 season. The Weedons team will be captained by Charlie Robson who has the ability to be a match winner with the bat, as he proved with his 128 off 114 balls vs Cheviot in the early rounds of the 19/20 season.

Weedons will be dependent on youngster Arnav Deb to be head’ its bowling attack. Deb has matured well after his first season of senior cricket and shows a lot of potential to improve even more over coming seasons. The loss of allrounder Lachie Stove will be a blow for the balance of their team, however promising youngster Connor Hotton will join Weedons once his school cricket commitments with St Andrews wrap up at Christmas time.

- North Canterbury News

 

 

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