This weekend will be a proud one for the Wootton family, with brother and sister Patrick and Eva making their representative cricket debuts for Wairarapa.
Medium pacer Patrick will debut for Post Office Hotel Wairarapa in their final Furlong Cup two-day game of the season against Manawatu at Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North.
Eva, also a medium-pace bowler, will make a belated start today for the Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus in their Mike Shrimpton Trophy match against Nelson on the Queen Elizabeth Park Oval. She was due to play for the Korus last month on their away trip to Nelson, only for the two games to be called off after weather prevented the team from flying to Nelson.
Patrick’s inclusion is a remarkable achievement, given that he overcame leukaemia, having been diagnosed with the debilitating condition in his early teens. He earned his place with good performances for his Red Star club side in their championship-winning Bidwill Cup run and comes into the team in place of left-arm seam bowler Angus Jaspers, who is playing for Central Districts at the national under-17 tournament along with all-rounder Samuel Payne.
“He swings it both ways and has developed good consistency; he is a bit raw yet, but he’s keen and is the sort of person we can work with,” Wairarapa coach Neil Perry said.
Experienced all-rounder Jaco Vorster returns for his first game since being sidelined with a broken finger suffered in the first-innings win over Whanganui in October, while Jeremy Anderson is also back in the fold. Both will add much-needed
experience to the middle order.
Wairarapa face a determined Manawatu, who are locked in a three-way battle for Furlong Cup honours and a Hawke Cup challenge, with Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki, and Perry expects a tough battle. However, he admits he knows little about their opponents.
“Obviously, they’ve been playing some good cricket, but we tend to focus on us what we can do, but they’ll be highly competitive and a good side. They’ll be tough opponents and need the points, so if we can put some pressure on them, it gives us opportunities to exploit.
Wairarapa have endured an up-and-down season, and Perry is keen to finish with a solid performance.
“We know what we need to do, but we just haven’t been able to do it, like bowl consistently in good areas, make sure we take our half chances and bat long and put them under pressure, and if we do that, we might be okay. When we’ve done that, we’ve done well, and when we haven’t, we’ve struggled,” he said.
Korus coach Simon Roseingrave has named 19 players for their three games in Masterton, and he believes today’s clash with Nelson will be the toughest with a young inexperienced side to take the field. Several players are unavailable because of work, while Melissa Hansen and Ocean Bartlett have Central Hinds commitments and will only play against Taranaki on Sunday.
“Sunday is probably the strongest team we’ve had this season, but for the other two games, it’s a matter of who is around; Saturday and Sunday, I would expect us to go out there and perform well, but Friday is introducing some more younger players to it,” Roseingrave said
Today’s game with Nelson starts at 11am, dependent on the state of the Oval pitch following the heavy rain over recent days. Tomorrow’s game with Hawke’s Bay and Sunday’s against Taranaki start at 10.30am.
There are two further women’s games at Greytown, with Nelson to Manawatu tomorrow, and Nelson to take on Hawke’s Bay on Sunday.