Jack Forrester scored a century in Friday’s Chapple Cup match against Nelson. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
Wairarapa’s Chapple Cup campaign got off to a rollicking start but ended at the semifinal stage against a strong Hawke’s Bay side on Saturday in Napier.
Teams contesting the Chapple Cup play three matches in three days, and Wairarapa cruised past Nelson on Friday, on the back of a strong bowling performance and dominant batting display from openers Jack Forrester and Mark Childs.
Wairarapa were chasing 232 to win and got there for the loss of just two wickets after Forrester  and Childs  had done the early damage.
Things didn’t quite go to plan in Saturday’s semifinal, as Hawke’s Bay secured a six-wicket win to advance to Sunday’s final against Taranaki.
Wairarapa won the toss and elected to bat but struggled to build momentum as a tight bowling display ensured the batsmen didn’t have the same level of freedom as the day before.
Forrester , Liam Burling , Ethan Childs  and Patrick Gluck  were the only batsmen to reach double figures, and Wairarapa were eventually all out for 139 in the 42nd over.
Wairarapa never gave up as they set about trying to defend the meagre total, but Hawke’s Bay had too much firepower and raced past their target in just 21.1 overs.
Quinn Childs was the pick of the bowlers with 2-31 from six overs, while Ethan Childs and Jared Watt picked up one wicket apiece.
Coach Neil Perry said it was a tough result to swallow after Friday’s near-perfect performance, but there was plenty to like about what the team had achieved.
“I’m bitterly disappointed with the result, but I’m not disappointed at all with the performance.
“We played some really good cricket . . . they bowled really, really straight and hit the deck hard, which is the sort of bowling we don’t often face.”
The tight bowling display meant the Wairarapa batters had struggled to rotate the strike as often as required, and they ended up having to chase the game more than they would have liked.
Perry said none of the batsmen had looked out of place against a quality bowling line-up, but they had hit a lot of really good shots straight to fielders.
“We found it a little bit challenging to rotate the strike, and then players had to try things because of the run rate.
“It wasn’t a long way from a really, really good batting display.”
After last year’s Chapple Cup campaign in which Wairarapa were swept aside in all three matches, Perry was confident they were heading in the right direction.
“There’s a lot more positives than negatives, that’s for sure.
“We’re getting better, but we just weren’t good enough against a good opposition.”
One of the highlights of the match was a stunning catch by Wairarapa captain Daniel Ingham to remove Hawke’s Bay opener Bayley Wiggins, with Ingham running back while looking over his shoulder and launching himself into a full-stretch dive to claim a remarkable wicket.
The loss meant Wairarapa had to play Manawatu in Sunday’s final match, in the playoff for third and fourth.
Manawatu proved too strong, winning by eight wickets after chasing down their target of 178 in 26.2 overs.