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Wholesale changes for Wairarapa

There are six changes to the Post Office Hotel Wairarapa side to take on Taranaki in the third round of the Furlong Cup at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval this weekend.

All-rounder Samuel Payne and seam bowlers Angus Jaspers and James Church are unavailable because of Sunday’s nearest neighbour match for the Central Districts [CD] Under-17 tournament.

All three are realistic prospects of pushing for
selection in the CD squad for the national tournament, and Wairarapa coach Neil Perry believes it’s important they are given every opportunity to impress to develop them.

“We will miss them because they bowled very well, but
that’s the nature of it, and if they play as they have done for us, they have every chance
of being selected,” Perry said.

Also out are Jack Forrester, with a broken finger suffered in the heavy loss to Hawke’s Bay, while middle-order batter Jeremy Anderson and spinner Trey Bidois are unavailable.

Forrester’s injury adds to the broken finger plague that has hit the side, with all-rounders Jaco Vorster and Roshan Sugathan still sidelined with similar injuries suffered in October’s first innings victory over Whanganui.

Medium-fast bowler Ethan Childs and all-rounder Gus Borren have returned from university and will make their appearances of the season, and talented middle-order batter Mark Steventon has recovered from an illness that kept him out of the first two games.

Veteran batter and occasional legspinner Robbie Speers returns to the side for the first time since 2019 on the back of good form in club cricket.

Seam bowler Tony Russo will play his first game in nine years, and Perry feels that both will add value to the side.

“Robbie has impressed with his attitude since he came back into the rep squad, and he’s performed week in and week out in club cricket, and Tony, I think he will be great for the group; he’s got a bit of experience, he’s the perfect rep bowler, and he puts it in the right areas consistently.”

Wairarapa have made a mixed start to the championship, which doubles as the Hawke Cup zone two elimination series, having convincingly beaten Whanganui on the first innings and then being humbled by Hawke’s Bay in an outright loss by an innings.

“I thought the last two games we’ve done some really good things, and we just need to keep improving those disciplines, playing on our terms, putting the ball in good areas consistently well, taking those half chances and just batting long,” Perry said.

“If we build and set a platform with the top order, we’ve certainly got the middle order that can take advantage of it.”

Wairarapa won the corresponding match last season on the first innings, and Perry is confident that the team are good enough to come away with the major spoils again.

“We’ll go out there and play some good cricket, play with passion and pride, and whatever happens from there is okay,” he said.

Play is scheduled to get underway at 10.30am tomorrow and Sunday.

Wairarapa team: Jared van Deventer [captain], Jake Jonas, Cole Freeman, Gus Borren, Nathan Elliott, Mark Steventon, Robbie Speers, George Deans, Ethan Childs, Quinn Childs, Tony Russo, Gurdev Singh.

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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