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Wairarapa top order fires in first innings

By Gary Caffell

Wairarapa put their batting woes behind them to secure a significant first innings advantage over Horowhenua-Kapiti in their Hawke Cup zone two qualifying round men’s cricket match played on a “belter” of a Queen Elizabeth Park pitch in Masterton over the weekend.

A lack of runs, particularly from the top order, had been the bane of Wairarapa leading into this game but they prospered in that department on this occasion, scoring a very healthy 338 in their first innings in reply to Horowhenua-Kapiti’s 264.

The visitors also batted a second time and were 196-7 in their second innings when stumps were drawn.

It would be wrong, however, to leave the impression that Wairarapa’s overhauling of Horowhenua-Kapiti’s first innings tally was all plain sailing.

At 223-5 they were clearly in the box seat but that all changed when two more wickets fell on the same score.

Suddenly Horowhenua-Kapiti were very much back in the game but happily Wairarapa regained the momentum and were still seven down when the first innings lead was established.

It was wicketkeeper Paul Lyttle who was the main nemesis to Horowhenua-Kapiti on the batting front.

Coming in at number eight he was always prepared to go for his shots with his 74 coming off just 57 balls and including eight fours and four sixes.

His was the last wicket to fall.

A very different knock came from first drop Liam Burling.

He was very scratchy early on, playing and missing on several occasions, but stuck doggedly to the task and eventually managed five boundaries in his 68 made off 170 balls.

Burling and Robbie Speers put on a valuable 83 runs for the fourth wicket with Speers being typically inventive in his 49 off 50 balls.

He struck 10 fours.

Opener Choi Jackson overcame a decent blow to the arm and later the ball slamming into his helmet in making 43 (six fours and one six) and skipper Gordon Reisima came up with a quickfire 32 off 33 balls (four fours and one six).

Kudos must be given too to Stefan Hook-Sporry who made 25 himself and was involved in an 84-run partnership with Lyttle for the eighth wicket.

There was a point in Horowhenua-Kapiti’s second innings where they stumbled from 93-2 to 96-5 and gave Wairarapa an outside chance of pressing on for the outright win but the lower order ensured that would not be the case.

Wairarapa used nine bowlers in their 54 overs and the most successful of them was debutante Stephen Sprowson who took 3-18 from his five overs and Jared Watt whose 2-40 came from 10 overs.

In other Hawke Cup zone two matches played over the weekend Wanganui took first innings points off Manawatu as did Hawke’s Bay off Taranaki.

Competition points are: Hawke’s Bay 30, Taranaki 28, Manawatu 17, Wairarapa 13, Wanganui 11, Horowhenua-Kapiti 1.

Wairarapa will complete their Hawke Cup programme with a match against Hawke’s Bay at Ongaonga Oval on January 28 and 29.

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