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Anderson breaks century duck

It took Robbie Anderson 31 games to realise his dream of scoring a Furlong Cup century for Post Office Hotel Wairarapa.

He did so in style on Sunday, bringing up three figures with the last act of the two-day game at Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North, as Wairarapa held on for a draw and denied Manawatu a Hawke Cup challenge by one point.

Wairarapa scored just 187 runs batting first on a pitch which offered early seam movement on Saturday, before Manawatu bludgeoned 303-4 declared off 50 overs, in an attempt to set up an outright victory.

The aim for Anderson, who returned to his accustomed opener’s role after batting in the middle order in recent games, and Central Districts under-19 rep Jake Jonas, was to bat out the day. He believed conditions had changed significantly from Saturday.

“The first half of the day, it [the wicket] was pretty green and just nipping around a bit, and then with the sun it browned up, and it was flat to bat on,” Anderson said.

“There were still 92 overs left in the day, so it was really just trying to bat it out. We batted all day and ground them into the dirt, and we were 139 after 40 odd overs, so it was a bloody good effort.”

Jonas was unlucky to be given out caught behind for 86, but then Anderson had good support from Mark Steventon, who scored his maiden representative half-century with 51. Wairarapa were 266-3 when play was called off.

For Anderson, it was his fourth century of the season, coming only three days after posting three figures for his
Ray White Greytown T20 side.

“I was pretty rapt. They [Manawatu] only kept playing so I could get 100, which was nice of them, but it’s been a goal for a long time, so I’m pretty chuffed to get it finally.”

Anderson’s 103no was a mix of patience and aggression, coming off 209 balls and featuring 14 fours.
Earlier on Saturday, Wairarapa looked headed for a sub-par total when they fell to 110-8 losing 8-26, but George Deans, who finished with 65no [76 balls and 11 fours] , and wicketkeeper Nathan Elliott [14] added a valuable 62 runs in a sprited rearguard action for the ninth wicket.

Coach Neil Perry was rapt with Sunday’s fightback but felt some of the problems that had plagued the side throughout the season were evident again.

“There was some really good fight and really good performances but we were up against a very good Manawatu side, and we probably played to par but it’s not quite good enough against a good side,” Perry said.

“It did a bit early, and the first inning was a bit of a challenge, but they bowled very well and we did what we’ve done for a while, we’ve batted well for large portions and then made some mistakes.”

The inexperienced Wairarapa bowling attack was next to come under fire, with Manawatu intent on getting to 300 for maximum bonus points as quickly as possible. Former Wairarapa opener Mason Hughes led the way with a rapid 108 off 93 balls as the home side declared at 303-4, giving them 92 overs to push for an outright, only to be frustrated by Anderson and his teammates.

“Their game plan was they needed an outright against us, so they just left no stone unturned to do that, and they were very positive,” Perry said. “They tried to get us to declare by feeding us a few runs, but Robbie was 80-odd at that stage off about 60 overs, and he had gutsed it out. There were times when they bounced us and had everybody around the bat because that is what their strategy was, and the fact that they tried a different strategy is to our credit.” Perry was thrilled with the contributions by Anderson, Jonas, and Steventon and was proud to help to decide which district earned the Hawke Cup challenge, with Hawke’s Bay pipping Manawatu by one point.

“If you can’t get in a position to win the game, what you want to do is save the game, and in this situation, it was critical in determining who gets a challenge.

“They were desperate and threw everything at us, and they were disappointed we didn’t declare.”

Hawke’s Bay finished on top with 59 points, followed by Manawatu 58, Taranaki 55, Horowhenua-Kapiti 30, Wairarapa 25, and Whanganui 21.

There was also good news with medium-pace bowler James Church called into the Central Districts Under-17s for their national tournament alongside fellow Wairarapa representatives, all-rounder Samuel Payne and left-arm seam bowler Angus Jaspers.

BRIEF SCORES

Wairarapa 187 [Gus Borren 33, George Deans 65no; Brad Fulton 5-43] and 266-3 [Robbie Anderson 103no, Jake Jonas 86, Mark Steventon 51] drew with Manawatu 303-4 dec [Mason Hughes 108, Curtis Heaphy 88no, Mitch Renwick 59; James Church 2-70]. Manawatu won on first innings score.

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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