The run away leaders in the Pearce Cup and Hazlett Trophy will be looking to stay ahead if not add to their leads after round 2 saw two sides emerge from the pack and become clear favorites in their respective competitions. Eastern Suburbs (Pearce Cup) and Onslow (Hazlett Trophy) both huge victories in the round 2 clashes which meant they are now a wee way ahead of the other sides. Easts are 10 points ahead of rivals Karori while Onslow are 14 points ahead Petone. Being ahead at the end of each competition is vitally important as in the Pearce Cup it gives a distinctive advantage in the final while the leader of the Hazlett Trophy takes home the trophy. Both sides face tough games this weekend as more fine weather is hoped for to get round 3 started.
Eastern Suburbs will head out to Fraser Park to take on Taita. Easts will be refreshed after the week off last week and will be keen to take advantage of a slightly under strength Taita side without South African Obus Pienaar. Easts accounted for Upper Hutt with ease in their last fixture but will be looking for a bit more comeptition this weekend and they should get it. Taita were unlucky not to get an outright in their match against Hutt. A tactical declaration when 30 runs ahead of Hutt left them a couple of sessions to see if they could force a result. Their bowlers did the job when they managed to dismiss Hutt for 118. This left their batsman 12 overs to chase 88. Unfortunately the loss of 4 wickets at annoying intervals meant they fell 16 runs short of the target. They will be pleased to have taken first innings none the less from the match. A close match is expected at Fraser Park.
At Karori Park Karori will host Hutt District. Karori got the result they were after last weekend when they managed to build a good innings with the bat and then bowl Johnsonville out to achieve an outright win and a couple of bonus points for winning by more than 100 runs. They were good with the ball and they made sure they kept second spot. They will be looking to put more pressure on leaders Eastern Suburbs this weekend when they face what has been an inconsistent Hutt District side. A side that one week can be brilliant and other weeks not so much. Last week was one of those weeks and it nearly cost them dearly. More by good luck then good management they got away last week with just a first innings defeat after not managing to bat very well in their second innings. They are one of the most talented sides on paper in the competition and will be looking to put it all together over the next two weeks against Karori.
In the final Pearce Cup match Johnsonville and Upper Hutt will be looking to bounce back from big defeats. They will both look for remarkable improvements in their batting if they are to stand any chance of making a run at the final in 6 weeks time. Sometimes big defeats like these help spur a side onto bigger and better things and maybe the week off was just what Upper Hutt needed and one thing is for certain neither side will give it any less than 100% this weekend. It will be an interesting match that is for sure.
In the Hazlett Trophy University find themselves looking to rebuild after a bit of a shock over the last 2 matches. They week from being on a high after thrashing Naenae to being bought right back down to earth against Onslow. After a low first innings they were always behind the eight ball but they struggled on day 2 as well and never really gave themselves a chance. They got 4 runs ahead of Onslow before being bowled out and the game was over just after lunch. They take on a North City side who put a very positive performance on the park last weekend. They were a long way behind on the first innings and needed a big performance with the bat to make sure they didn’t suffer their second big defeat of the 2day round. This is exactly what they did. They applied themselves and passed 300 runs for the first time this season. While they didn’t win the game or take any first innings points they will take confidence from how they saved the game and will take this into their match at Kelburn Park.
Onslow will be looking to pounce on a struggling Wellington Collegians side this weekend at Anderson Park. The side will be full of confidence after their big win against University and know that if they can produce a similar performance over the next two weekends the Hazlett Trophy will be all but theirs. They have one of the best bowling attacks in Wellington club cricket at the moment and how they didn’t make the Pearce Cup will be puzzling for most of the side. They seem to have a point to prove at the moment though if their first 2 performances in the 2day round is anything to go by. Collegians on the other hand had a bit of a shock against Naenae. Not many would have picked them to lose outright and the side will be looking for a few answers especially with the bat. They have the batting lineup that is capable and it will be interesting to see if they can put a decent performance on the park how they will stack up against Onslow.
In the final match Petone-Eastbourne take on Naenae. Petone will be looking to channel their day 1 performance against North City which saw them bowl really well and then almost bat North City out of the game. It took a special effort from the North City side to make sure they avoided defeat on day 2 and Petone will be keen to drop that performance and move on. They will need to be on their game against an in-form Naenae side who had an outright win over Wellington Collegians last week. Naenae’s first outright victory in a 2dayer for a while won’t be something they forget in a hurry and if they can channel that form that they have found then they will be tough oppisition for Petone.
All matches start at 11am with day 2 on the 26th (next Sunday) due to the South African ODI at Westpac Stadium. All matches will be live scored on CricHQ.