Another chapter in the history of the famous Hawke Cup takes place this week when Bay of Plenty challenge current holders Hamilton in a three-day game beginning on Friday at Galloway Park.
The Hawke Cup, which is the symbol of minor association cricket superiority in New Zealand, was presented by Lord Hawke in 1910 and is amongst the oldest cricket trophies still contested in the country.
In the 81 years since Bay of Plenty played their first representative match in 1932, they have played in 21 direct challenges for the Hawke Cup.
Bay of Plenty made an inauspicious entrance into representative cricket, when they played South Auckland in a Hawke Cup challenge in their first representative outing in 1932. South Auckland batted first and posted 333 all out. In reply the Bay side learnt about the realities of top level cricket, mustering just 59 in their first innings and a slightly more respectable 171 in their second turn at bat. Bay batsman EG Sutherland become the first Bay player to post a half century, when he top scored with 62 runs.
In all the Hawke Cup challenges over the years that Bay teams have participated in, there have been some outstanding individual results posted. The first Bay of Plenty century was recorded by New Zealand representative Andy Roberts, when he blasted 117 against Hawke's Bay, when the Bay won the minor association trophy for the first time in 1986.
Other Bay of Plenty Hawke Cup centuries have come from the bats of Derek Beard and Grant McKenzie, along with the Bay of Plenty's highest ever score of 181 by Simon Winter in a title defence against Central Otago.
The first six wicket bag came in the Bay's third ever challenge against Manawatu in 1940 in Palmerston North. Whakatane all-rounder Leicester Spring returned 6/48 in a game where the Bay suffered a heavy loss. Spring played his last game for Bay of Plenty against the visiting Fijian cricket side in 1948, at nearly 40 years of age.
Beard, David White and Bob Cunis later joined Spring as the only other Bay bowlers to take six wickets in an innings.