John McKenzie … looking to continue good form in the Coastal Challenge. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Burger King Red Star have a nervous wait to see if they make the Coastal Challenge semifinals.

A three-wicket loss to Whanganui Marist in the most recent round of the combined Wairarapa, Whanganui, and Horowhenua-Kapiti competition on January 9 has left Red Star’s championship hopes hanging by a thread with the team sitting out today’s final round with the bye.

Paraparaumu head the points table on 26 points and are guaranteed a home semifinal, while Red Star are second on 22 points, but with the Whanganui teams Marist and United on 22, and defending champions Levin Old Boys on 20, there’s a strong possibility Red Star could slip out of contention to fifth place.

Adding to Red Star’s concerns, Whanganui United and Levin Old Boys play two of the competition’s weaker teams – Weraroa and Kapiti Old Boys, respectively.

Red Star’s spot in the top four will be assured though if Paraparaumu beat Marist in Whanganui.

Otherwise, the Masterton-based club must rely on bottom-of-the-table Weraroa, who are winless, beating Whanganui United, or Kapiti Old Boys, who have had only one win, upsetting the strong Levin Old Boys lineup.

With rain or showers forecast on the western side of the Tararua Range, the weather could also play a factor in deciding the make-up of the top four.

If the games cannot be completed, that would move Levin Old Boys equal to Red Star, who would qualify having won their round-robin clash.

[Wairarapa] United will only be playing for pride in their final game of the round-robin away to Whanganui Collegiate.

The combined Lansdowne, Marist, Greytown side are sixth in the league on 12 points, with Collegiate one point behind.

United have failed to live up to their high expectations in this year’s competition, having won just two games – against Red Star, and Weraroa.

The batting line-up have the potential to score big runs quickly, with Gus Borren and Jared van Deventer at the top of the order, followed by John McKenzie, who impressed with a representative half-century against Whanganui last weekend, and captain Jaco Vorster.

The bowling stocks, however, have taken a big hit with medium-fast bowler Ethan Childs out with a long-term knee injury.

Surprise package Gurdev Singh, who has 11 wickets at an average of 15.45 with his medium-pace bowling, and Wairarapa representatives – medium-fast bowler Borren and left-arm spinner Quinn Childs will lead the bowling attack.

Support will come from medium-pacer Vorster, and slow bowlers Regan Fricker and Sanjay Patel.



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