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Acid test for Wairarapa

Andrew Taylor, batting for United in 2020, will make his rep debut against Hawke’s Bay. PHOTO/FILE


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Promising Rathkeale cricketer Andrew Taylor couldn’t ask for a tougher opponent than Hawke’s Bay to make his debut for Post Office Hotel Wairarapa this weekend.

The talented wicketkeeper-batter gets his opportunity in the two-day Furlong Cup match against the Hawke Cup holders at Queen Elizabeth Park, with regular keeper Paddy Gluck unavailable.

Taylor showed he is ready to step up to representative level two weeks ago with a gutsy 43 not out, batting at number three for United in their two-wicket win in the Coastal Challenge over rival Wairarapa club Burger King Red Star.

In that innings, Taylor showed great composure and resistance to withstand a fiery spell from Central Districts A seam bowler Stefan Hook.

“I’ve seen his quality – he’s scored a couple of tons for school [Rathkeale] against good opposition last year,” said Wairarapa coach Neil Perry, “and his keeping is at least as good as Paddy’s. He’s really come on a lot, and he’ll be ready.”

Another to make his debut will be United seam bowler Gurdev Singh. Singh was selected to play against Taranaki three weeks ago, but that game was postponed because of two positive covid-19 tests in Wairarapa.

All-rounder Gus Borren will make his first appearance of the season after returning from university, adding depth to the batting lineup. His lively medium pacers will also boost the attack.

However, left-arm spinner Quinn Childs, medium-pacer Ethan Childs, and veteran all-rounder Jaco Vorster are unavailable.

Wairarapa beat Hawke’s Bay on the first innings the last time the two teams met in Masterton two seasons ago.

Last season, they held on to deny Hawke’s Bay an outright victory in Napier, led by opener Jake Jonas, who finished 70 not out in a defiant six-hour stand after he was hit in the helmet by the first ball he faced.

Wairarapa would be intimidated by teams such as Hawke’s Bay in past seasons, but Perry said those days are long gone.

“They came here expecting the easy wins, and we were just hoping to put a performance out there, but now we’re capable of beating these sides, and if we play our own game and battle and fight every ball, we’ll win the game.

“Obviously, they’ll have something to say about that, and if they play good cricket, then it’s an exceptionally good game.”

The match is only Wairarapa’s second in the Furlong Cup, after the deferment of the Taranaki fixture, and with no Coastal Challenge last weekend, several of the players will go in short of cricket.

However, Perry said the players have been training well, and are champing at the bit to play some cricket.

Winning the toss and batting first could be a key factor on the Oval pitch, which in the past has played well early on before providing more variable bounce as the game went on, especially on the second day.

Play is set to start at 10.30am today and tomorrow.

Wairarapa team: Gordon Reisima [captain], Jake Jonas, Robbie Anderson, Jared van Deventer, Andy Dodd, Jeremy Anderson, Nathan Elliott, Gus Borren, Andrew Taylor [wk], Gurdev Singh, Sean Wakelin, Stefan Hook.

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