Brock Price will be available for the opening rounds before he departs for Australia. PHOTO/FILE

Top four challenge for club

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Red Star are the only Wairarapa team in action in the opening round of the Coastal Challenge today.

Last season’s beaten semifinalists travel to Paraparaumu to play Kapiti Old Boys, while United have the first-round bye.

United are a combination from the Lansdowne, Greytown, and Masterton Marist clubs, and return to the championship after a year’s absence, in place of Lansdowne.

The competition, involving teams from Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kapiti, and Whanganui, is down to nine teams after the withdrawal of Whanganui Tech Old Boys and will run through to mid-February.

Red Star captain Peter Sigvertsen said the team are targeting the semifinals at least.

“If we’re at full strength we’ll be really good, but it’s just a matter of getting everyone on the park,” he said.

“We have to be competitive first up, obviously, and it all depends on the other teams, but I would back us to make the semifinals again.”

Sigvertsen said that over their two seasons in the competition, Red Star have learned that winning the away games was crucial to their success.

“The longer the season went on last year we realised we could actually travel, score runs, and knock teams over.

“I don’t think it’s a big difference playing away, and that’s definitely one thing we’ve learned, and you’re actually playing good quality cricket that is just a little bit lower than rep cricket because some of the teams are stacked with rep players.”

Red Star have lost the Childs twins – pace bowler Ethan and left arm spinner Quinn – to United, while allrounder Cole Freeman is working for Manawatu Cricket and will play for Feilding.

“Cole is a big loss, because giving him those few overs to tie an end down or having his batting to score those few runs at the end, we’re going to miss, but we’re pretty confident that we can cover that.”

Another significant loss is former Wairarapa representative Brock Price.

The hard-hitting batsman and useful back-up bowler will be available for the first three rounds before he makes his long-awaited move across the Tasman Sea in mid-November, with the reopening of travel to New South Wales.

Red Star have picked up hard-hitting left-hand batsman Nathan Chaney from Lansdowne, and bowling allrounder Sean Wakelin, who played one game for Lansdowne last season. Ollie Slemmer, a batting allrounder from Wellington is a newcomer to the region.

Wairarapa representative left-hander Robbie Anderson will head a solid batting line-up, which could include wicketkeeper-batsman Nathan Elliott, Jeremy Anderson, and Paddy Gluck. Stefan Hook showed last season that he could score big runs.

Pace bowler Hook and medium-pacer Sigvertsen will lead a useful bowling attack.

Rathkeale students Jake Jonas, Alfie Macintosh, and Charlie Sims will also play a vital role when not committed to school fixtures.

Last year’s clash between Red Star and Kapiti Old Boys was washed out and prospects aren’t looking bright for today, with showers forecast in the afternoon for Paraparaumu.



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