Post Office Hotel Wairarapa captain Robbie Anderson was rapt with the character shown by his side in their first-innings loss to Hawke’s Bay over the weekend.
Wairarapa went into their final Furlong Cup match with a slim chance of earning a Hawke Cup challenge needing to score at least 200 runs in their first innings and an outright win.
Their chances diminished when they lost six wickets for 87 runs in Saturday’s first session. A 49-run stand between two of the younger players – Mark Steventon  and Samuel Payne [52no] – revived Wairarapa’s prospects, but in the end, the home side fell 18 runs short at 182
[the corrected official score from 179 as reported in yesterday’s Times-Age].
Anderson reckoned it was tough work against what was essentially a first-class bowling attack.
“The first couple of hours, it was doing a little bit, but Liam Dudding, he got six, and he will be playing for the Stags in the red ball stuff, and he’s a first-class cricketer, and it showed,” Anderson said.
“Sam batted really well, and so did Mark, which was good; they’re young guys facing first-class bowlers, and they handled it really well, so there are some positives to take from it.
“We were probably about 100 short with the bat, but nine out of 11 of their players are first-class cricketers, so it was always going to be a tough ask.”
Anderson was most impressed with the bowling and fielding effort, which restricted the dangerous Hawke’s Bay batters and had the visitors under pressure, especially late on Saturday.
“That last session on the first day, to keep Hawke’s Bay to two an over on a pretty flat deck with a lightning-quick outfield, was a great effort,” he said.
“There were a couple of 50–50 chances that we didn’t take, but they were extremely hard catches and a couple of close run outs. We bowled for 96 overs in 32-degree heat, and we were up the whole time. We were trying, but it was pretty flat and didn’t offer us a lot.
“It was just one of those games; things just didn’t go our way, and if it did, we needed an outright regardless, and that sort of wicket was not going to provide an outright.”
Wairarapa finished the Furlong Cup tied for third with Taranaki on 41 points, only 14 points behind winners Hawke’s Bay, which was a satisfying result for Anderson.
“This season, we’ve punched well above our weight, and we’ve put Wairarapa Cricket back on the radar, which is nice, as well as people following us again and having an interest in it, which is cool.”
Provisional Furlong Cup standings
Hawke’s Bay 55; Manawatu 50; Taranaki, Wairarapa 41; Horowhenua-Kapiti 26; Whanganui 23.