Sideline Sid is excited about a group of young Western Bay of Plenty representative cricket players, who could follow in the footsteps of current Bay of Plenty Black Caps Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, and ND players in skipper Joe Carter and Brett Hampton.

This grey-headed cricket fan has been around the Bay of Plenty representative teams for nearly two decades, and has never seen such a talented young crop of players emerge at the same time

In recent seasons, the Bay of Plenty Cricket representative team has become a springboard to professional cricket and the Black Caps.

Current Black Caps Kane Williamson and Trent Boult lead a group, who has traversed the Bay of Plenty junior cricket pathway to Black Cap selection.

Te Puke's Mathew and Robbie Hart were the first to travel from the Bay of Plenty senior men's team via Northern Districts, to wearing the New Zealand uniform.

Hard on their heels, were Daniel Flynn and Graeme Aldridge, who journeyed along the same pathway as the Hart brothers.

The first of the rising stars to put their hand up for Bay of Plenty selection was Tim Pringle, who became the youngest Bay of Plenty player at 15 years and 92 days, when he made his BOP debut against Northland in November 2017.

Pringle surpassed Kane Williamson's BOP debut at 15 years and 111 days.

It's interesting to note, that the only other Bay of Plenty players to make their debut before turning sixteen years of age were Mathew Hart and Daniel Flynn.

Tim Pringle has gone on to earn New Zealand Under 19 selection and become a regular choice in the Bay of Plenty side.

In 21 matches in the Bay uniform, he has taken 34 wickets with the season best wicket tally of 15 last season.

Earlier this year, Fergus Lellman and Ben Pomare were selected for New Zealand to play at the Under 19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

Ben Pomare is a specialist wicketkeeper, with a extremely sound pair of hands behind the stumps.

Fergus Lellman is a top order batsman of real promise, who has belted 431 runs in Under 19 International cricket, with a top score of 116 not out.

The shining star in the Bay of Plenty representative team last season was Taylor Bettelheim.

The opening batsman blasted 390 runs in five matches, with two centuries, which included a best of 130.

He became just the 12th Bay of Plenty batsman to score a century in the furnace of Hawke Cup, with 108 not out against Hamilton earlier this year.

Big hitting batsman Dan Price produced a myriad of runs in the Bay Development ranks, before a call-up to the Bay of Plenty First XI.

His 2019/20 Development run of form produced two centuries with a highest score of 137.

Other Bay of Plenty Cricket young men to earn BOP first team selection last season on the back of Second XI form, were Josh Earle, Jacob Logan and Niven Dovey.

Earl topped the Development bowling honours with 12 wickets last season, with Dovey (145) and Logan (115) both belting Development centuries.

With a nine game ND representative program set in place, it will be interesting to follow the progress of the Bay of Plenty Young Guns in the next few months.

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian