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Umpiring has a woman’s touch

By Gary Caffell

It’s not often you see a young woman making the decisions out in the middle in Wairarapa senior men’s cricket competitions.

But that could become pretty much the norm for the rest of the 2016-17 season after Regan Combe shared the umpiring duties for the very first time at the top club level when Red Star and Wairarapa College did battle in an Umpire’s Cup match at the Park Sportsground on Saturday.

For the 24-year-old mother of two and partner of Lansdowne player Greg Dennes-Wilson, it was a nerve-wracking experience after having previously stood only in age group games, but she was “pretty happy” with the way things went.

Regan Combe, off to a flying start. PHOTO/CHRIS KILFORD
Regan Combe, off to a flying start. PHOTO/CHRIS KILFORD

“I was a bit nervous but I guess the more games I do the easier it will be in that respect.

“There was a bit of extra pressure there but you expect that.”

Combe said she was attracted to umpiring because with her partner and kids so involved in the sport she was constantly going along to cricket anyway.

This was her way of getting more involved in the game as well.

And she has made a flying start, successfully passing her level two examination and now having her first senior game behind her.

As to her ambitions on the umpiring front, Combe said she was simply focusing on doing the best she could and not looking too far ahead.

“I’ll just take what I get and see where it all ends up.”

Meanwhile, Red Star medium pacer Tony Russo was the toast of his team after their six-wicket win over Wairarapa College in their Umpire’s Cup clash.

Bowling with sustained accuracy, Russo finished with the outstanding figures of 5-13 from his nine overs, five of which were maidens, and was largely responsible for a Wairarapa College batting collapse which saw them slump from 94-5 to be all out for 111.

In total the Wairarapa College innings lasted for just 27.2 overs and the scoring was dominated by talented all-rounder Brad Griffith, who refused to be tied down by the Red Star attack.

He peppered the boundary at regular intervals, striking six fours and two sixes in getting through to 57 off exactly the same number of balls.

His promotion to the senior representative squad must surely be close at hand.

Red Star achieved their target for victory in 22 overs.

Opener Nathan Elliott was the anchorman, facing 63 balls for his 33, although he was still quick to put the loose ball away, as evidenced by his six fours.

George Deans marked his return to the club scene with a solid 27.

His 51-run partnership for the second wicket with Elliott guaranteed there would be no flutters in the sometimes brittle Red Star batting order on this occasion.

Rathkeale College kept their hopes of an Umpire’s Cup semi-final spot alive when they not only beat Lansdowne in their match at Rathkeale College, but did it comfortably by 57 runs.

It was Miller Paton-Masters who provided the highlight of the Rathkeale College innings of 195-5.

He was at the wicket for 152 minutes in making 75 off 117 balls, including just the three fours, and when he departed run out the score had progressed from 13-1 to 188-7.

Captain Jack Forrester also made a sound contribution, his 34 coming off 50 balls.

He hit two fours and two sixes.

Lansdowne used seven bowlers in all and the pick of them was Drew Macdonald who was lively in taking 4-26 from his 10 overs.

Their batting effort was, however, well below par with only Brock Price (38) and Greg Dennes-Wilson (31) threatening to get on top of a persistent Rathkeale attack led by paceman Kelsey Fahey.

He took 2-16 from his six overs.

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