By Gary Caffell
A new benchmark has been set for Wairarapa in the number of players selected in a single Central Districts cricket side.
The CD under-15 girls tourney in Palmerston North may have been hampered by what has become the bane of this cricket season, rain, but there was still plenty of reason for excitement in the Wairarapa camp.
An unprecedented three of their players were named in the Central Districts team to contest the national tournament for their age group in Whanganui in January and a fourth was named as non-travelling reserve.
Selected in the team proper were Kayarna Jones-Dennes, Ocean Bartlett and Wairarapa skipper Elizabeth Cohr while Hattie Vincent is next cab off the rank should another player be required.
Both talented batswomen Jones-Dennes and Vincent were members of the Wairarapa Korus senior squad this season while Bartlett is a top order batter and leg spin bowler and Cohr is a middle order batter and off spin bowler.
Having so many in the one CD team is a huge boost for Wairarapa junior cricket and is further illustration of the strength and depth the province is starting to create in those ranks.
As to the CD under-15 girls’ tournament itself Wairarapa followed a first up loss against Manawatu with a most impressive victory over last year’s champions Hawke’s Bay.
Their other four games were either rain affected and not completed or completely washed out.
The Wairarapa under-17 boys ended their CD selection tourney in Napier with a record of losing all four of their matches by close margins, including a heart-breaking four-run loss to perennial heavyweights Hawke’s Bay.
There were though some outstanding individual performances with Jake McIntyre finishing as the second top wicket-taker with 14 scalps to his credit.
Ethan Childs topped the batting charts for Wairarapa with 144 runs and ‘keeper Jack Forrester was the leader in terms of dismissals with eight.
The individual highlight, however, came when Quinn Childs — twin brother of Ethan — was named in the CD under-17 side for their national tournament in January for the second successive year.
The promising bowler finished the 2016 tourney with six wickets for 113 runs from his 39 overs.
While their CD tournament was a non-selection affair the Wairarapa under-15 boys side returned home full of confidence after some excellent performances, despite them too having their share of rain interruptions.
A first day loss to Marlborough was followed by a superb first innings win over Nelson in a match where Wairarapa actually pushed hard for an outright two innings result.
Wairarapa’s total of 143 was led by Ralph McLeod with an unbeaten 54 and they then dismissed Nelson for 57, Jack Oldroyd and Josh Nelson both taking three wickets apiece.
Wairarapa made a quickfire 66-2 off 11 overs in their second innings before declaring and had Nelson tottering at 77-6 when play ended.
Wairarapa later went into a fifth and sixth playoff game with Horowhenua-Kapiti and had them in deep strife at 71-8 when rain intervened.
Caleb Burling was the main destroyer, having taken 4-16 from his 15 overs.