By Gary Caffell
Wairarapa pace bowler Stefan Hook-Sporry is poised to make his debut in the highest class of domestic cricket following a call-up into the Central Stags cricket squad for their Plunket Shield match with Auckland Aces, starting in Auckland tomorrow.
If he is named in the starting XI, it will be just reward for Hook-Sporry who has been a consistent performer for Central Districts A over the past couple of seasons.
A bowler noted for running in hard and having enough pace to extract at least some life out of the most placid of wickets, Hook-Sporry could find himself part of a Stags attack also including another Wairarapa paceman in Seth Rance.
Rance’s form for CD in all forms of the game has had many pundits talking about him as a strong candidate for Black Caps selection in the not-too-distant future.
Like Rance, Hook-Sporry is no mug in the batting department either.
Both players are clean hitters of the ball capable of changing the balance of a game in a matter of a few overs and having them at the bottom of the order would certainly add depth to the Stags in that area.
The news of Hook-Sporry’s promotion will have been greeted with mixed feelings by his club side, Lansdowne.
Obviously, they will be delighted for his own sake but disappointed he won’t be on deck when they meet arch-rivals Greytown in a Bidwill Cup fixture at Queen Elizabeth Park oval in Masterton on Sunday.
The loss of Hook-Sporry is going to place huge pressure on the rest of the Lansdowne attack, particularly the likes of Drew Macdonald, Brock Price and Hayden Barrett who will probably bear most of the responsibility there.
Greytown, on the other hand, will see Hook-Sporry’s absence as simply evening up the odds as they have had do without Rance for most of the club season.
In Liam Burling, they have a top order batsman in the middle of solid patch of form and fellow Wairarapa reps Robbie Speers, Gordon Reisima and Paul Lyttle along with Mark Childs will be relishing the thought of facing a depleted Lansdowne bowling line-up.
Taking all things into consideration the most important factor in this game might well be the toss.
Whichever team calls correctly is likely to bat first with the idea of using up most of their 60 overs to set their opposition a target which will fully extend their batting resources.