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Cricketers dust off whites

Just as play is called in the World Cup in India, Wairarapa cricketers are dusting off their whites for the start of a busy season.

With only three weeks until the start of the Furlong Cup, Hawke Cup Zone Two elimination series, new Post Office Hotel Wairarapa coach Mark Childs has been putting the players through an extensive preseason programme, which included a training camp at Central Districts’ indoor facility in Hastings last weekend.

The players will taste their first action in the middle today with a preseason hitout against Wellington club team Petone-Riverside on the Hadlow artificial. Childs said the game is very much a shakedown, and he is likely to take a mix-and-match approach to give as many players as possible a good hitout.

The team will, however, not be at full strength with players such as former Central Stags medium pacer Seth Rance, top order batters Mark Steventon and Jaco Vorster, and allrounder George Deans unavailable for the game, which will get underway at 11 am.

The preseason buildup will continue next Saturday, with the inaugural North vs South clash to be played at Queen Elizabeth Park. The one-day game will be played over three sessions and 112 overs to best replicate the format for the Furlong Cup, which gets underway with an away trip to New Plymouth to take on Taranaki on October 28–29.

Home games against Manawatu [November 18–19] and Whanganui [December 9–10] follow before Christmas. Wairarapa’s Furlong Cup wraps with an away game to Horowhenua-Kapiti [January 13–14] and at home to Hawke’s Bay [January 20–21]. The one-day Chapple Cup tournament will be played in mid-February.

Childs has scored a major coup for the representative season, nabbing quality top-order batter Taylor Bettelheim, who has moved from Northern Districts to Central Districts. The 2020–21 Bay of Plenty Cricketer of the Year is a prolific runscorer, including hitting 211 in a Cup match against Waikato Valley, and was hotly pursued by rival districts.

The first ball in the premier Wairarapa club competition, the Bidwill Cup, will be bowled on the Saturday of Labour Weekend. Four teams, defending champions Red Star, Inspire Greytown, Lansdowne, and a Barbarians team comprising a mix of club players and representative players [past and present], will contest the championship, which will be played over two full rounds, finishing before Christmas.

The games will be played over one day [100 overs] but with a two–day format to replicate what players can expect in the Furlong Cup. There is a complex scoring system, but teams are able to bat two innings to force an outright result, and bonus points are awarded for batting and bowling in both innings.

The team with the highest points after two full rounds will win the Bidwill Cup.

The Coastal Challenge, involving club sides from Wairarapa, Whanganui, and Horowhenua-Kapiti, will be played in the new year. Red Star will be the only local team in the limited-overs competition.

On the women’s cricket scene, the Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus face a busy season with two full rounds in the Mike Shrimpton Trophy – the Central Districts’ premier women’s championship.

The Korus will play home and away fixtures against Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, and Taranaki and will play a doubleheader away to Nelson, as well as a friendly with Marlborough in Blenheim. They start and finish with games against Hawke’s Bay at the Oval on November 12 and in Napier on February 4.

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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