Semifinals first goal for titleholders

Here we go . . . North Otago Cricket's Borton Cup competition gets under way tomorrow, with St Kevin's hosting Union, Albion play Waitaki Boys' and Valley takes on reigning champions Oamaru. Glenavy has the bye.

The cricket season has arrived and the Borton Cup gets under way tomorrow. Nic Duff checks in with the teams.


Last season was one to remember for Oamaru, as the side took home the Borton Cup title, defeating St Kevin’s College in the final.

The side will be without last year’s skipper Robbie Breen, but has brought in former Waitaki Boys’ High School pupil Quinn Wardle to co-captain the side with Lachlan Brookes.

Brookes said Oamaru would love to feature in back-to-back finals, but was trying not to get too far ahead of itself.

‘‘I think just trying to reach that semifinal stage again will be quite a good goal.’’

The side would look to lean on the all›round skills of Hawke Cup players Stephan Grobler and Nicholas Johnston.

‘‘They’re two really big leaders in the team and they bring a lot of energy and fizz to the boys, [whether] it’s just fielding, taking wickets or batting, they really give the boys a lot of confidence.’’


St Kevin’s College will be hoping for third time lucky this season.

The secondary school side finished as runner-up the past two seasons, and, with little change from last year’s squad, player-coach Craig Smith said the team would be looking to build on that success.

The team boasts an impressive three Hawke Cup representatives in captain Liam Direen, Ben Kay and Jesse Valpy.

‘‘There’s a few boys there that have been recognised by Otago Cricket, which is quite nice, so we’re hoping for good things from them.’’

Former player-coach Josh Phipps is no longer with the side, but is replaced by another player-coach in Jacob Fowler, who returns from a knee injury.


Union will be looking to add another competition title to its trophy cabinet this season after winning the Dick Hunt twenty20 competition last year.

It will also be looking to improve on its third›place finish in the Borton Cup.

Despite a few players leaving, the core group returns this season.

Player Jeremiah Shields said if Union could consistently roll out its full›strength line›up, the team would be in good stead to make the finals.

‘‘Every goal for every team is to win that Borton Cup, or even have a crack at the [Dick Hunt] but probably keeping our full› strength side on the field will be a massive goal, and if we can do that, we’ll be there or thereabouts.’’

The team would be able to rely on the consistency of all›rounder Brad Fleming, he said. Thomas Anderson, from Waitaki Boys’, would join after the summer break.


Valley will be looking to build on a promising season last year.

The team, which finished fourth in the Borton Cup and third in the Dick Hunt, will hope securing wins at home can lead it to the playoffs.

‘‘We’d love to win all our home games and build off that,’’ captain Lachlan Kingan said.

‘‘Borton Cup has been eluding us for a fair bit of time so we’d love to be in contention for that.’’

Cameron Grubb, who was Valley’s third-leading run-scorer last summer, would play a big role.

Sean Webber was the only loss, and the team would be without Jake Matthews, who had Heartland rugby commitments, to start the season.


It has been a tough off-season for Albion, the side losing four players from last year, including former skipper Jonty Naylor.

Ricky Whyte will take the reins and, despite all the disruptions, he hoped the team could push for a playoff spot.

‘‘We’ve missed the semifinals for the last two years so [we will] definitely try and get back there, and after that anything can happen.’’

Amal Ashok will be crucial with the bat. The Hawke Cup representative was the leading run›scorer in the Dick Hunt competition and finished second in the Borton Cup, chalking up more than 500 runs total, in just 11 games.

Tarras Beardsmore, who had left Waitaki Boys’, joined Albion, and Whyte hoped English wicketkeeper Callum Clayton would be able tomake it over for the summer.


Waitaki Boys’ will be searching for a much improved performance this season.

The club finished sixth with one win over Glenavy last year.

Player-coach Jaden Dowling said the team was young, but filled with potential.

‘‘The most exciting thing is we’ve got really talented juniors coming through the school, and so a few of them are getting a taste of senior cricket.

‘‘I think in a couple years Waitaki Boys’ is going to be a very very strong 1st XI.’’

The team would target the top four, as well as winning the McSkimming-Smith Trophy off St Kevin’s in the interschool.

Alex Wilson, who was ‘‘a freak with the bat’’, and lightning-quick bowler Lochie Mavor were players to watch.


Glenavy will be heading into this season with a revamped mindset.

The team is coming off a disappointing year, winning only two matches in Borton Cup and Dick Hunt.

Captain Kurt Thomas said if the team could execute its game plans, the results would come.

‘‘Our main goal is to make the semifinals and just try to push those top teams, try to make it as hard as possible for them to win.’’

The team would rely on its captain, and Rodney van Leeuwen to score the bulk of the runs, and Thomas was excited at the potential of Josh Julius with the ball.

‘‘It’ll be good to see Josh Julius get his V8 motor arced up and steaming in.’’

The team remains as last year, except for the loss of ex-North Otago Cricket development officer Ethan Booth.