Wairarapa Korus players Gemma Sims and Melissa Hansen in action against Wanganui. PHOTO/LISA SIMS
A depleted Wairarapa Korus side will look to retain their spot at the top of the Shrimpton Trophy table when they take on Taranaki in Whanganui this Sunday.
Both sides are unbeaten after their opening two matches, and whoever wins this weekend will go a long way towards winning the competition with only one round to follow in January.
Regular captain Esther Lanser is nursing an injured finger — limiting her to a batter-only role for the match — and Melissa Hansen will lead the side.
Joining Lanser on the injured list are Amy Fitzgerald and Karen Bracewell, while Kerry Tomlinson and Kate Sims are both unavailable due to coaching and swimming commitments respectively.
Lanser said while they were not at full strength, they were still backing themselves to put on a good performance.
“We’re not quite at full strength but it gives the other girls a chance to step up.
“Having two wins from two has really lifted our confidence, especially the win over Manawatu . . . I think that result gave a lot of the girls the belief that we can compete.”
The squad will still have three players — Lanser, Hansen and Georgia Atkinson — who played for the Central Hinds against the Northern Spirit last weekend.
Atkinson will assume the vice-captain position on Sunday.
Lanser said it would be important for the senior players to step up, and she hoped some of the younger players who have been in the Hinds environment would bring that experience back to the Korus.
“Having Kate and Georgia in the Hinds has given them a lot of experience and growth which they can take back to this environment — they loved every moment of it.”
Hansen acknowledged the team were short of a few players who were capable of having a major influence on any match, but said that would not be an excuse once they take the field on Sunday.
“I’m still backing the girls all the way.
“I feel like if we put a good performance out then Taranaki are definitely beatable.”
Atkinson and Hansen have been the leading run scorers for Wairarapa over their opening two matches, averaging 74 and 38.5 respectively.
Hansen has also been the leading wicket taker for the team over those two matches, snaring five wickets at the impressive average of 4.4.
Following this weekend’s match the Korus will have to wait six weeks until their final Shrimpton Trophy match against Hawke’s Bay.
There is no final in this competition so the team at the top of the standings after the round robin will be crowned champions for 2017/18.
Korus squad: Melissa Hansen (c), Georgia Atkinson (vc), Ocean Bartlett, Caitlin Elliott, Annissa Greenlees, Monique Graves, Kayarna Jones-Dennes, Tahlia Jones-Dennes, Esther Lanser, Olivia Roseingrave, Gemma Sims, Hattie Vincent.