Inspire Living Greytown and Burger King Red Star are likely to adopt aggressive approaches to tomorrow’s games in an effort to close the gap on Bidwill Cup leaders, the Barbarians.
With two games to play in the Wairarapa Cricket premier championship, the Barbarians, on 50 points, have a healthy 11-point buffer over Greytown, with Red Star a further point behind. Lansdowne are out of championship contention on 22 points.
With eight points for a first-innings win and eight bonus points [four batting and four bowling] in each innings, the Barbarians’ advantage, although handy, is far from insurmountable.
How Greytown approach their clash with the Barbarians holds plenty of intrigue. The southerners are a team of hardworking cricketers with no real stars and have shown in their previous games they are a hard nut to crack, and although they might like to be aggressive, a more conservative approach could pay off.
A first innings win and a good haul of bonus points while restricting the Barbarians’ tally could move them within touching distance, with stragglers Lansdowne to meet in the last round.
The Barbarians’ prospects haven’t been helped with the unavailability of their Rathkeale players, medium pacers James Church and Angus Jaspers, and Sam Jonas, and that has led to the call-up of several players firmly in the veteran’s category, including Ali Murrell, Hayden Spierling, Brian James, Iain McKay, and Mark Jonas, giving the side a decidedly “Dad’s Army” appearance. There is still a solid core, though, with representative players Quinn Childs, Ethan Childs, and Jack Wakeling.
In the Barbarians’ favour is that they know a good tally of points could give them a virtually unassailable lead with one round to play.
While a more conservative approach could prevail at Greytown, Red Star are sure to be all out attack in pursuit of a rare outright defeat when they meet bottom-of-the-table Lansdowne at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.
Stars certainly have the batters in Robbie Anderson, Jake Jonas, Nathan Elliott, Mark Steventon and captain Jeremy Anderson to post a big score in rapid time, and the medium-pace attack in Pete Sigvertsen, Patrick Wootton, George Deans, and Jonas to run through a Lansdowne side who have struggled to register big scores, but posting a large enough total and bowling out the opposition twice all within 100 overs is a tall order.
A first-innings win with a big haul of bonus points could move Stars close enough to the Barbarians to make a strong push to retain their championship when the two meet in the final round in a fortnight.
Play in both games is scheduled to start at 12 midday tomorrow.