‘Too early to pick finalists’

KEY MAN: Opener and wicketkeeper Kieran Venema is an invaluable member of the OBR team who take on High School Old Boys tomorrow. Picture by Liam Clayton

OBR club captain Ian Loffler says it’s too early to describe tomorrow’s Doleman Cup cricket match against High School Old Boys as a preview for the final.

On paper, defending champions Bain Construction OBR and DJ Barry Cup runners-up Bollywood Stars HSOB are the strongest teams in the district and favourites to make the final.

HSOB go into the match unbeaten after two rounds, three points ahead of OBR, who had a surprise loss to Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates on the opening day but bounced back to beat Gisborne Boys’ High School last week.

HSOB skipper Scott Tallott, even without star opener Carl Shaw this weekend, has a formidable top order —Glen Udall, Tallott himself, David Salmon, Bruce Kerr and Ajay Kumar.

The team will also be boosted by the return to Gisborne of Tallott’s younger brother Robbie in two weeks.

Throw in a bowling attack of co-captain Jak Rowe, Inder Singh, Kumar, Salmon, Parminder Kulaar and Marshall Norris, and it’s not hard to see why HSOB are a serious threat to the dominance of OBR, who won three trophies from three last season.

“There’s not too much between the teams,” Loffler said.

“Talk of finals is way too early. Our focus is on tomorrow’s game and it will be about who takes their opportunities, who handles the pressure moments.

“We’re pretty pleased that we stepped up from our first-up loss and showed some glimpses of form last weekend.

“We’re concentrating on batting our 40 overs. If we do that, we’ll get a good score.

“Our bowlers bowled really good lines last week and Boys’ High batted well.”

While HSOB have a strong batting line-up, OBR are not lacking in that department, either.

They have a reliable opening pair in Craig Christophers and Kieran Venema, backed up by Loffler, Timoti Weir (if recovered from injury), on-field skipper Jonathan Purcell and Arun Kurup.

“Kieran is a key player in the first 20 overs, and his ability with the gloves has kept us in many a game,” Loffler said.

“He’s the most vocal in the field and keeps us on our toes.”

Tallott, like Loffler, played down the likelihood of tomorrow’s match being a prelude to the final.

“You’d have to say we, OBR and Pirates are the three main contenders.

“I wouldn’t underestimate Pirates. They beat OBR and should have beaten us. We were lucky to get the points.

“On their day, any of these three teams can win.

“One thing OBR have in their favour is their ability to step up when it counts, in finals.

“They’ve shown they can do that when the occasion demands it.

“As well as being without Carl, we’ll be without Jak (Rowe, Tallott’s co-captain and strike bowler).

“We’ll miss both. Jak’s still carrying an injury but Carl has been in good form with bat and ball.

“He’s opens the bowling and gives us runs with the bat. It’s up to the rest of us to step up.”

Pirates will go into their game with Gisborne Boys’ High School as favourites but need to be wary of a school side fast improving under player-coach and talented all-rounder Josiah Turner.

In Robbie Schwass, Travis Mitchell, Drew Scott and Jack Faulkner, Turner has the batsmen to punish any wayward bowling.

Mitchell, in particular, was in outstanding form last week, hitting six fours as he scored 64 off 74 balls against OBR.

Scott had got a start and looked set for a big score when he was caught by Venema off the bowling of Kurup for 22.

Paul Stewart is developing into a key middle-order batsman and medium-pace bowler for the school and the Poverty Bay representative team.

OBR club captain Ian Loffler says it’s too early to describe tomorrow’s Doleman Cup cricket match against High School Old Boys as a preview for the final.

On paper, defending champions Bain Construction OBR and DJ Barry Cup runners-up Bollywood Stars HSOB are the strongest teams in the district and favourites to make the final.

HSOB go into the match unbeaten after two rounds, three points ahead of OBR, who had a surprise loss to Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates on the opening day but bounced back to beat Gisborne Boys’ High School last week.

HSOB skipper Scott Tallott, even without star opener Carl Shaw this weekend, has a formidable top order —Glen Udall, Tallott himself, David Salmon, Bruce Kerr and Ajay Kumar.

The team will also be boosted by the return to Gisborne of Tallott’s younger brother Robbie in two weeks.

Throw in a bowling attack of co-captain Jak Rowe, Inder Singh, Kumar, Salmon, Parminder Kulaar and Marshall Norris, and it’s not hard to see why HSOB are a serious threat to the dominance of OBR, who won three trophies from three last season.

“There’s not too much between the teams,” Loffler said.

“Talk of finals is way too early. Our focus is on tomorrow’s game and it will be about who takes their opportunities, who handles the pressure moments.

“We’re pretty pleased that we stepped up from our first-up loss and showed some glimpses of form last weekend.

“We’re concentrating on batting our 40 overs. If we do that, we’ll get a good score.

“Our bowlers bowled really good lines last week and Boys’ High batted well.”

While HSOB have a strong batting line-up, OBR are not lacking in that department, either.

They have a reliable opening pair in Craig Christophers and Kieran Venema, backed up by Loffler, Timoti Weir (if recovered from injury), on-field skipper Jonathan Purcell and Arun Kurup.

“Kieran is a key player in the first 20 overs, and his ability with the gloves has kept us in many a game,” Loffler said.

“He’s the most vocal in the field and keeps us on our toes.”

Tallott, like Loffler, played down the likelihood of tomorrow’s match being a prelude to the final.

“You’d have to say we, OBR and Pirates are the three main contenders.

“I wouldn’t underestimate Pirates. They beat OBR and should have beaten us. We were lucky to get the points.

“On their day, any of these three teams can win.

“One thing OBR have in their favour is their ability to step up when it counts, in finals.

“They’ve shown they can do that when the occasion demands it.

“As well as being without Carl, we’ll be without Jak (Rowe, Tallott’s co-captain and strike bowler).

“We’ll miss both. Jak’s still carrying an injury but Carl has been in good form with bat and ball.

“He’s opens the bowling and gives us runs with the bat. It’s up to the rest of us to step up.”

Pirates will go into their game with Gisborne Boys’ High School as favourites but need to be wary of a school side fast improving under player-coach and talented all-rounder Josiah Turner.

In Robbie Schwass, Travis Mitchell, Drew Scott and Jack Faulkner, Turner has the batsmen to punish any wayward bowling.

Mitchell, in particular, was in outstanding form last week, hitting six fours as he scored 64 off 74 balls against OBR.

Scott had got a start and looked set for a big score when he was caught by Venema off the bowling of Kurup for 22.

Paul Stewart is developing into a key middle-order batsman and medium-pace bowler for the school and the Poverty Bay representative team.

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