Jack Forrester will be out to back up from his first round 97 in today’s game against Weraroa. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Red Star and Lansdowne will be looking to break their ducks in the Coastal Challenge today.

Burger King Red Star face a tough ask against defending champions Whanganui Marist at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.

Red Star started their campaign with a heavy six-wicket loss away to Levin Old Boys two weeks ago.

Today’s game will be their first home game this season.

The top order batting struggled on a green top against a consistent Levin pace attack, but they should find few terrors in the Oval pitch which provided consistent pace and bounce in an Umpires Cup game last Saturday.

Opening batsman Nathan Elliott was in fine form in that game, hitting an unbeaten 117 in an innings of patience and waiting for the bad ball to put away. A repeat of that will be needed to get his team off to a good start.

Batting was the Achilles heel for Red Star in last season’s Coastal Challenge and only once did they score more than 200 runs.

Richard French, Jeremy Osborne, Paddy Gluck, Anthony Sprowson, and Cole Freeman can get runs, but too often throw their wickets away with poor shot selection.

The likely inclusion of representative bowler Ethan Childs, along with Stefan Hook, captain Peter Sigvertsen, and Jake McIntyre give Red Star a strong seam bowling attack.

Quinn Childs proved his worth as a spin bowler in Wairarapa’s innings loss to Horowhenua-Kapiti in the Furlong Cup. His control of line and length regularly had the batsmen struggling and had him claim 4-47 from 21.4 overs.

Whanganui Marist have hardly set the world alight in the defence of their title, starting with a 45-run loss to Weraroa.

However, with many of their players having played representative cricket for Whanganui, Marist cannot be underestimated.

Evergreen Mark Fraser is a dangerous middle order batsman who has hit many centuries at club and rep level, while fellow veteran Dominic Rayner can to score runs quickly in the top order and although he has lost a yard or two of pace is a more than useful medium pace bowler.

The match starts at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval at noon today.

Jackson Street Bar Lansdowne travel to Levin to take on Weraroa.

Whereas Red Star have struggled with the bat, Lansdowne’s troubles lie around their lack of bowling depth.

Scoring runs wasn’t a problem in their opening loss [on the Duckworth Lewis Stern system] to Paraparaumu. Brock Price with 144 and Jack Forrester, 97, plundered the bowling in their score of 340-6.

However, the Lansdowne bowlers struggled to contain the Paraparaumu batsmen, who scored at a rapid rate despite losing regular wickets.

That game was played on the artificial pitch at Park Sports Ground No 1 and with today’s game on the Weraroa Domain, which usually plays low and slow, it will better suit Lansdowne’s slower bowlers, in particular leg-spinners Hugo Wakeling and Robbie Speers, and Sanjay Patel.

Weraroa have had a win over Whanganui Marist and loss to Paraparaumu to start the Coastal Challenge.

Little is known about the side, apart from the loss of Englishman Matthew Good, who transferred to crosstown rivals Levin Old Boys.

Meanwhile, the clash between competition leaders Auto Imports Marist and Red Star should be the feature match in tomorrow’s Umpires Cup round.

Carterton should be too good for Lansdowne Two, Wairarapa Mitsubishi Greytown are favoured to beat Unreal Grass Marist, and defending champions Rathkeale will be favoured to beat Pope and
Gray Greytown.