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Back into it . . . In action in the first round of the Borton Cup last weekend are (clockwise from top left) Oamaru's Stephan Grobler (diving for the line), Albion bowler Anthony Docherty, Albion captain Jonty Naylor and Oamaru bowler Nicholas Johnston. PHOTOS: DAVE NALDRETT

The cricket season is under way and seven teams will be vying for the Borton Cup and Dick Hunt Trophy in the coming months. Kayla Hodge chats with club representatives about how the teams are looking.

UNION

When the chips are down, Union’s experience often gets them over the line.

The defending Borton Cup champions have a settled line-up this season, with the addition of Glynn Cameron, who has returned from injury, and Jack Cameron.

Union captain Jeremiah Shields said adding youth was key, but he could always count on the experienced players.

“I’d like to think we can work our way out of most situations and try and find a way to win … but we’ll just take every game as it comes and see where we are coming into the end of the season,” Shields said.

Union had a good win against Waitaki Boys’ High School in the opening round – helped by Shields’ 106 runs and Brad Fleming’s five-wicket bag.

ST KEVIN’S COLLEGE

St Kevin’s College will be looking to build on its momentum from a successful 2020/21 competition.

The secondary school side, in its second year back at senior level, made the Borton Cup final last season for the first time since 1999.

While St Kevin’s came off second best, player-coach Craig Smith said it was “huge moment” for the school and last year’s players grew “a heck of a lot” from the experience.

St Kevin’s has lost three players from last year’s team – Anthony Docherty, Isaac Clunie, and Jack Cameron – but second XI players were ready to step up.

“There’s some good players that have been knocking the door down for the last 12 months at least, and are ready for an opportunity.”

Josh Phipps is also a player-coach for St Kevin’s this year.

WAITAKI BOYS’ HIGH SCHOOL

Waitaki Boys’ High School could be one to watch this year.

The school side was competitive against defending champion Union at the weekend. Liam Mavor – who was the side’s top batsman on 351 runs last season – took two wickets, while Liam’s cousin, Lochie, took one.

New player-coach Jaden Dowling said there were good signs from the side already.

Waitaki Boys’ loses year 13s Quinn Wardle, George Mavor, Angus Ruddenklau and Matthew Stewart at the end of the year. However, the bulk of the team was year 11 and 12 players, who would continue to grow each week, Dowling said.

“I’ve also been told there’s some pretty talented year 9s and 10s coming through, so they’ll get a good opportunity when some of the older boys leave,” Dowling said.

OAMARU

Oamaru won the Dick Hunt title last season, and it’s aiming to add the Borton Cup to the trophy cabinet this season too.

“The goal’s to win it – that’s the one that everyone remembers,” captain Robbie Breen said.

Breen said Oamaru had not lost any players from last season, which put the club in a good position. Zach Naldrett was the only addition.

All-rounder Stephan Grobler was pivotal for Oamaru last season, finishing as Borton Cup’s top bowler with 24 wickets, and was Oamaru’s best batsman with 245 runs. Oamaru beat Albion last weekend.

Oamaru is working towards entering a presidents team in the Dick Hunt competition, too.

VALLEY

Valley is looking like a well-rounded team this season.

The Weston club has retained its core group of players, and picked up St Kevin’s bowler Isaac Clunie.

New captain Shanon Dunnett said the club had good numbers “on deck”.

“If we can put out the same side most weeks, certainly our fielding and bowling is going to be very strong,” Dunnett said.

Valley’s top bowler last season, Jake Matthews (13 wickets), would be missing while he had North Otago Heartland rugby commitments.

Valley beat St Kevin’s by five runs last weekend – Ben Mavor, Sean Webber and Cameron Grubb all taking three wickets.

Mavor, who was tied up with weekend work last season, could be key to Valley’s success this season, Dunnett said.

GLENAVY

Glenavy is sporting a new uniform this season.

The Rangers have swapped the whites for a green and gold combination, and senior player Ross McCulloch reckons the change could be a recipe for success.

“Hopefully that will get us a few runs, just based on appearance,” McCulloch said.

The club had strong numbers in training, and Jackson Henshaw was the main loss. But Hamish McCulloch, was returning after a three-year hiatus, McCulloch said.

The team had been training in Waimate and at the Glenavy Cricket Ground, and played a pre-season match in Dunedin.

“It was good to hit the ball, and roll the arm over and find any underlying injuries – that’s what pre-season’s all about.”

Glenavy had a bye to start the season, but will face Albion for the Marshall Smith Memorial Trophy tomorrow.

ALBION

The only way is up for Albion Cricket Club.

The Mungas were awarded the wooden spoon last season, and player Ricky Whyte said the team was shaping up better, with key goals for the season ahead.

“Target the semifinals: be more competitive and perform better in and out each week,” Whyte said.

Albion had lost player and club president Stephen Halliwell but gained a trio of players new to the district and Anthony Docherty from St Kevin’s.

“They’re looking pretty handy at training so far.”

Albion captain Jonty Naylor – the top Borton Cup batsman last season – starred last week taking three catches and running out two players.