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Korus facing stern test

Life doesn’t get any easier for the Wairarapa Korus senior women’s cricket team.

After losses to Manawatu and Taranaki in their first two games in the Central Districts interprovincial series they will face even stiffer opposition when they meet Hawke’s Bay at Queen Elizabeth Park oval in Masterton on Sunday.

The damage Hawke’s Bay can do against bowling line-ups which stray off line was well illustrated in their first round match when they thumped Whanganui by some 250 runs.

They have several batswomen capable of putting bat to ball with telling effect, none more so than Kelly Rangi who rates as one of the hardest hitting woman players in the country.

She made a quick fire century against Whanganui where her dazzling stroke play justifiably earned her rave reviews and there will be no more prized wicket for the Wairarapa attack than hers.

Michelle Bunkall, who opens the bowling for Hawke’s Bay is another player of high quality and the same can be said of all-rounder Rosemary Mair, a youngster whose bowling and batting capabilities suggest she will be playing at the highest levels in the not-too-distant future.

Korus coach Simon Roseingrave is under no illusions as to the magnitude of the challenge facing his team in this particular match.

“They (Hawke’s Bay) will clearly be another step up from the opposition we have already played. It’s a huge test for us,” he said.

That said, however, Roseingrave was thrilled at the progress made by the Korus against Taranaki where their intensity in all departments was greater than against Manawatu, and he has been most impressed at the hard yards being put in at training sessions, a sign that they certainly won’t fail on the score of endeavour.

Captain Esther Lanser and Central Hind Melissa Hansen are clearly the two key figures in the Korus line-up.

On the batting front Lanser demonstrated all her guile and experience in making an unbeaten 70 against Taranaki with her astute shot selection on what was a slowish pitch providing an excellent example to her team-mates of the value of playing every ball on its merits.

Hansen has yet to show her true batting potential in the Wairarapa colours this year but she showed enough in her 20 off 52 balls against Taranaki to suggest a big score is close at hand.

It will be to her team’s benefit if she can “hog” the strike when Bunkall is at the bowling crease, and keep the scoreboard ticking over at the same time.

The return of Karen Bracewell, who was not available for the Taranaki match, to the middle order should be a big plus as well.

She showed the value of patience and grit in a handy knock against Manawatu and more of the same will be required here.

Bowling-wise the Korus will be looking to Hansen, Kate Sims and Olivia Roseingrave to lead the way and against batswomen of the calibre of Rangi their ability to stay focused while under the pump is sure to have a decent say in the end result.

An interesting newcomer to the Korus squad for Sunday’s fixture is 14-year-old Kayarna Jones-Dennes, who has made such an impact at junior levels that she has been promoted to the senior ranks.

The full team is: Esther Lanser (captain), Melissa Hansen, Gemma Sims, Annissa Greenlees, Karen Bracewell, Kate Sims, Rewa Pomare, Caitlin Elliott, Kayarna Jones-Dennes, Georgia Atkinson, Olivia Roseingrave, Oralee Mauriri.

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