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Hook-ed on first-class action

Stefan Hook celebrates taking a wicket for Wairarapa. PHOTO/FILE

Rance out with torn hamstring

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa fast bowler Stefan Hook has had a taste of first-class cricket after becoming Central Districts’ 299th first class player on Sunday – and he wants more.

Hook was playing for Central Districts A against Auckland A at New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park last week.

He was in good form, having taken five wickets for 102 runs when he was told at the end of the second day on Thursday that he couldn’t bowl on the third day.

The 24-year-old then got the CD Stags call-up to go to Wellington for the Plunket Shield game starting on Sunday at the Basin Reserve.

Hook said on Wednesday it was the realisation of a long-held ambition after he ended up as 12th man in a previous call-up for a game against Auckland in 2018.

“It’s always been the goal of mine to play first-class cricket and it’s been a lot of hard work,” he said.

“I’ve been doing a lot of gym training and cross fit and that’s helped. I’ve gained a couple of yards of extra pace.”

Hook bowled 15 wicketless overs for 53 runs in Wellington’s first innings of 298, and three overs for six runs in Wellington’s second innings cruise to a nine-wicket victory.

However, he felt that he bowled better than the figures suggested.

Seth Rance … recovering from hamstring injury. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

“I had a catch go down at second slip and a plumb lbw turned down. My concern was that I wouldn’t be up to it, but I went pretty well. I now realise what I have to do to be there,” he said.

“The intensity was ridiculous. It’s hard to explain but you’ve got to be switched on the whole time. We fielded 100 overs and it’s really quite draining.”

Hook was also blown away by the encouragement shown from both teams.

“It was really supportive, a lot more than I expected it to be, and even the Wellington guys came up and congratulated me before the game.”

Hook was not certain when his next first-class appearance will be, however, it’s unlikely to be against Otago at University Oval this weekend, with former Black Cap pace bowler Doug Bracewell, fellow paceman Blair Tickner, and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel expected to be included in the squad.

If Hook is not required, he can play for Burger King Red Star in their vital Bidwill Cup match against Wairarapa Mitsubishi Greytown on Saturday.

Hook said he was contemplating his options for the off-season and was considering another stint in Darwin where has played twice before.

Hook’s good fortune though came through bad luck for Wairarapa’s veteran seam bowler Seth Rance, who tore a hamstring in the field in the Stags’ win over Northern Districts at Napier on February 22.

“It was late in the day, I had bowled seven overs and felt really good. I ran after a ball that had been hit towards the mid-wicket boundary and my hammy went. It felt like someone had shot me from behind,” Rance said on Wednesday.

“I was five days on crutches and had one scan which showed a tear and am going for another ultrasound and we’ll decide what needs to be done.”

The injury is another blow for Rance, who battled with a niggly Achilles tendon injury in the early part of the season, however he said that gives him a chance to reflect and get things right over the off-season.

Like Rance, Hook reached his goal of playing first class cricket from Wairarapa despite offers from bigger associations and that pleased Rance.

“Stefan’s worked really hard and it’s brilliant that he’s done it from here, playing for Wairarapa. It shows you don’t have to go elsewhere,” he said.

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