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And now … an all-time cricket XI

Brock Price. PHOTOS/FILE


While out on my daily walk the other morning, I caught up with a fellow sports enthusiast.

We briefly discussed – from opposite sides of Totara St – the all-time Wairarapa-Bush team named for the virtual rugby game against Auckland.

He then suggested why not do the same for cricket?

Despite being one of the smallest districts, Wairarapa have a proud history, having held the Hawke Cup, the premier trophy in district cricket, the last time from 1977-79.

Wairarapa have also produced several players who have gone on to higher honours.

I have set a criteria of at least 10 games, so that excludes the likes of Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Doug Bracewell Jr, and Roger Twose, who all played here for brief periods and went on to represent New Zealand.

Like with rugby, I have limited my selection to the past 50 years.

So here is my best Wairarapa Cricket XI from 1970 until now.

Dermott Payton

Dermott Payton … never took a backward step.

Captain and opening batsman, Payton played a record 131 games for Wairarapa. He is the top scorer with 5519 runs, including six centuries. Payton played 51 first class matches, scoring 2475 runs, including three centuries. A hard taskmaster, who never took a backward step.

Tony Short

Opening batsman and medium-slow bowler, Short is Wairarapa’s second highest run scorer with 4407 runs, including four centuries, and the district’s top wicket-taker [151], with a best of 7-14 against Horowhenua in 1972.

Greg Todd

Todd had two spells with Wairarapa, first as a student in the late 1990s, and then towards the end of his first class career. After struggling for playing time with Central Districts, Todd moved to Otago to progress his first class career. He moved back to CD and was instrumental in Wairarapa earning a Hawke Cup challenge against Hamilton in 2012.

Stephen Elliott

Elliott started his representative career as a medium pace bowler, but became more noted as useful top order wicketkeeper-batsman. Elliott played 116 matches, scored 3830 runs, with a record seven centuries.

Sam Curtis

Curtis made his debut in 1996 as a Wairarapa College student and went on to play 97 matches for the district. A prolific run scorer, Curtis scored four centuries, including a memorable 120 not out when Wairarapa chased down a massive target of eight runs an over to beat Taranaki.

Brock Price

This is possibly out of left field, but Price has finally started to fulfil his immense potential in recent seasons. His 116 not out against Manawatu in 2017 was all class, as was the 241 he scored in the Bidwill Cup final in 2018. A hard hitter with the ability to turn a game.

Mark Childs

Mark Childs … wicketkeeper

Childs first played for Wairarapa as a Kuranui College student in the early 1990s and was on target to play for Central Districts before rugby got in the way.
A useful inside back for Wai-Bush, Childs moved to Wellington in an attempt to break into the Hurricanes. That never eventuated and he returned to Wairarapa and resumed his cricket career, finally pulling the pin in 2019 at the age of 44.
Childs is also my wicketkeeper.

Seth Rance

The Black Cap heads an impressive medium-fast bowling attack. With 128 wickets at first class level, and a best of 6-26, Rance is a must include. Although his appearances for Wairarapa have been limited in recent seasons, whenever he does feature he’s always a threat, highlighted by his three wickets in 13 balls in the win over Manawatu in the 2017-18 season.

Mike Pawson
A medium fast bowler Pawson played 19 first class matches for Central Districts from 1991 to 1995, taking 40 wickets, with a best of 5-41. Pawson led the Wairarapa bowling attack for several seasons before moving to Hawke’s Bay. A more than useful lower order batsman, Pawson never fully realised his full potential.

Mike Flood
Big and strong, Flood was feared by opposition batsmen at any level. Not the quickest, Flood had the ability to get sudden bounce and movement. He was also a powerful hitter lower in the order. Flood was probably unlucky not to be given an opportunity at a higher level.

Doug Bracewell

When it was announced in 1978 that Bracewell had been named in the New Zealand side to tour England, everyone assumed it was Doug and not his younger brother Brendon. That’s how good he was.
Bracewell made 23 first class appearances for Canterbury and CD, taking 43 wickets at an average of 36.23, with his off spinners. His best for Wairarapa was 8-55 against Marlborough in 1982.

How does that compare with your XI?

Let me know.

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