TPL Round 3 Preview
Round 3 of the TPL cricket competition continues on Saturday with no team really able to gain full traction yet. Batsmen are still struggling to come to grips with pitch and weather conditions. Rain caused an abbreviated round last Saturday as all games were aborted early with batsmen still labouring to get going. The Marlborough teams seem to be in the ascendency although Nelson playing through champions Stoke Nayland return to the fray this week with the abandonment of fixtures last week meaning they were not penalised unduly by last week’s bye.
In probably the most intriguing matchup Marlborough Dolphins host Stoke Nayland at Horton Park in Blenheim. These two are unbeaten and it is hoped that they will both be at full strength and ready to rumble. Stoke Nayland’s well-balanced bowling attack will provide multiple threats as Dylan Egington will be looking to back up his five-wicket haul on week one. Veteran Kurt Pahl will lead the batting charge and doctor Chris Dittmer looked good in the first round and is yet to be dismissed. While the Dolphins began the season with an emphatic win over woeful Wakatu they have not really been truly tested. Their bowlers have excelled, with Ben Blackman and Josh Poole to the fore but they have not had the opportunity to show their worth with the bat. Hopefully, that will change on Saturday.
WTTU are the other traveling team as they take on the Marlborough Falcons also at Horton Park. They appear to be improving exponentially each Saturday. Joe O’Connor and Tom Ingham will be hoping to carry on from their cameos at Victory Square in their most recent appearance. The Falcons will be looking to Sam Boyce to continue his dominance with the ball. While no player in this grade has scored a half-century, Matthew Stretch is the top all-rounder and will be anticipating another opportunity to excel.
In the only game in Nelson, a bottom of the table clash matches up Nelson College and Wakatu at Ngawhatu. Both teams have begun poorly with Wakatu having lost 18 wickets for 65 runs for the season (38 off the bat). Nelson College scraped out of their fixture last week as well, on the back of the Raxworthy boys, Finn and Jonty displaying some grit. Play begins at 11:30 am on Saturday but the recent track records of these two teams suggests that if you want to watch some cricket in Nelson on Saturday it may pay to get to Ngawhatu early.
ACOB appeared to begin to get their show back on track last week and may be disappointed with the bye this Saturday. Hopefully, they can continue their momentum when they re-enter the battle next week.