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Batting is the key for Red Star

Rediscovering the batting mojo against the struggling Paraparaumu tomorrow could be vital for Burger King Red Star to lock in a home Coastal Challenge semifinal.

Red Star are already assured of a top-four playoff spot, but whether it is at home or away will depend on the outcome of their 50-over game at Kena Kena Park, Paraparaumu Beach, as well as the matches featuring Whanganui United and Whanganui Marist.

All three go into the final round, tied on 15 points. United lead with the superior nett run rate, and Red Star are second, having beaten Marist in their opening game. The only certainty is that Kāpiti Old Boys, who have the bye, will finish fourth.

A win with a bonus point would guarantee that Red Star hosts a semifinal at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval next weekend, while a win without the extra point could also be enough, but they could also slip to third depending on Marist’s result.

Adding to the conundrum is that all three contenders’ opponents are out of the semifinal reckoning, so the outcome of the games could depend on the attitude those sides bring to their games.

“It would be nice if those other results went our way, but those other teams have nothing to play for – whether or not they care is the big question,” captain Jeremy Anderson said.

His focus, though, is solely on their clash with bottom-placed Paraparaumu, starting with the batting, which has been Red Star’s Achilles heel in their last three games.

After starting with a hiss and roar in scoring 307–7 against Marist, Stars have posted below-par totals of 159, 119 and 200, with Trey Bidois almost a lone wolf with the bat, including scoring a deserved century in last Saturday’s win over Weraroa.

Jeremy Anderson is demanding a more disciplined batting effort from his team, with knockout cricket just around the corner.

“The guys are good enough to do it, but it’s actually putting your head down and doing the hard work before you try and score the runs,” he said.

“Usually, it’s a pretty good deck over there. They have had a bit of rain, but if we can knuckle down and do the hard yards early, hopefully, we can score some runs off the back of that.

“It’s about discipline and adjusting to the pitch rather than going out and thinking you’re batting on an artificial [or playing T20].”

The return of Wairarapa representative captain Robbie Anderson at the top of the order and all-rounder George Deans to slip into the middle order is a boost, although Jeremy Anderson, Mark Steventon, and wicketkeeper Nathan Elliott also need to rediscover some form after a lean few weeks in the middle.

While the lack of runs concerns the skipper, he is pleased with the performance with the ball and in the field, although Stars’ slow bowling options are limited without spinners Quinn Childs and Shamal Perera for tomorrow’s game.

“We’ve bowled reasonably well all season, and with George coming back, it helps, but we lose our spinners Quinn and Shamal, but Trey [Bidois] and Zach [Anstis] are bowling well and our fielding has been reasonably good as well, so it’s the batting we need to improve on.”

Although Red Star has struggled at times in previous trips to the Kāpiti Coast, Jeremy Anderson is confident there is the ability with bat and ball to roll Paraparaumu, as long as the players are focused and disciplined.

“The first job is to win, and if we can do that, hopefully, we can get a bonus point as well,” he said.

    Play is scheduled to get underway at 12noon tomorrow at Kena Kena Park.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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