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Abbreviated season in store

Jake Jonas attacks for Rathkeale in last year’s Umpires Cup final. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa Cricket’s premier one-day championship will be played over a shortened season because of the later finish of winter sports brought about by the covid-19 restrictions.

Nine teams have entered the Umpires Cup, but with only seven weekends available to complete the competition, the 40-over championship has been split into two divisions.

The top five teams will contest the Umpires Cup while the bottom four will play for the Times-Age Cup.

Two-time defending champions Rathkeale are joined in the top division by 2019 runners-up Wairarapa Mitsubishi Greytown, Auto Imports Masterton Marist, Carterton, and Red Star.

The top qualifiers after the round-robin will go straight to the final on December 12, and the second and third place-getters will contest the second spot in the final.

The fourth- and fifth-placed teams will also play off, with the losers to meet the winners of the Times-Age Cup in a promotion-relegation game.

Lansdowne, Unreal Grass Masterton Marist, Pope and Gray Greytown, and the Rathkeale 2nd XI will contest the Times-Age Cup.

The teams will play a home and away round-robin, with the team with the most points winning the trophy.

Play will start on October 31 for the competitions, two weeks later than usual.

Wairarapa Cricket expect to start the women’s franchise T20 championship in mid-November with first-round games under lights at Trust House Memorial Park.

The players are spread evenly over the four nine-women teams to promote close competition.

Plumbing World Sapphires won last season’s inaugural championship, beating Lone Star Meteors in the final. Holmes Construction Infernos and Shoe Clinic Fury make up the competition.

Interest has also been high in Wairarapa Cricket’s T20 Community Shield competition.

Eleven teams, including four from the Greytown club, two each from Marist and Lansdowne, and one each from Red Star, Featherston, and the Stihl Shop have entered.

The teams will be seeded into two groups with competition to get under way in early December and played over nine weeks.

Crombie Lockwood Greytown defeated Stihl Shop in last season’s final.

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