Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Top order batting under microscope

By Gary Caffell

It will be the same old story for Wairarapa in their Hawke Cup qualifying round and Furlong Cup zone two senior men’s cricket match with Horowhenua-Kapiti at Queen Elizabeth Park oval in Masterton tomorrow and Sunday.

The failure of their top order batsmen to pride a solid enough foundation for those below them to prosper has been the achilles heel of Wairarapa all season and once again the onus will be on them to show significant improvement if their side is to have any chance of securing maximum points.

Horowhenua-Kapiti’s attack is likely to be led by a couple of youngsters still at Horowhenua College, Fraser Bartholomew and Liam Penfold, who almost spearheaded their side to a shock win over Taranaki late last year.

On that occasion Taranaki were chasing just 66 runs to win in their second innings and the combined efforts of Bartholomew and Pinfold had them scrambling at 30-7 after just 16 overs.

In the end Taranaki did get home but with only two wickets to spare it was a close go.

The performance of his two quickies understandably left a favourable impression on Horowhenua-Kapiti player-coach Ramesh Subasinghe who labelled it a case of “sheer good bowling” rather than any extra help they received from the pitch.

No doubt Subasinghe, who played professionally in Sri Lanka for six years, will have taken note of Wairarapa’s constant struggles with the bat and he will have the likes of Bartholomew and Penfold chomping at the bit to strut their stuff on a Queen Elizabeth Park wicket which could be helpful to the seamers, particularly early on.

Wairarapa coach Neil Perry readily concedes that if his team are to break their “duck” in this season’s Hawke Cup series they will need to show greater resilience and shot judgement in batting positions one through to six.

“We’ve actually bowled and fielded pretty well but, yes, the batting has not been up to scratch and that’s been reflected in the results, clearly we have to do better there.”

Opening the batting for Wairarapa this weekend will be a couple of players who are probably better-known for their feats with the ball, Choi Jackson and Kelsey Fahey.

Jackson has, however, filled the opener role for Lansdowne over the past couple of seasons with some success and it will be interesting to see how he fares at the higher level.

Liam Burling will be at first drop and then will come regulars Brock Price, Robbie Speers and Gordon Reisima followed by Jack Forrester, Paul Lyttle, Stefan Hook-Sporry, Jared Watt and Peter Aiken.

Also in the 12 is bowler Stephen Sprowson, who is likely to make his senior rep debut when Wairarapa takes the field, Hawke Cup rules allowing one player to bowl but not bat or vice versa.

Not available for this particular match were key all-rounder Daniel Ingham, who is off overseas, Peter Sigvertson because of a prior commitment and George Deans through injury.

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