For one of the few times this season, the Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus will field close to their strongest team when they tackle Taranaki on Sunday at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
There are seven changes from the side that suffered a heavy loss to Manawatū last weekend with the return of captain Ocean Bartlett, Olivia Clark and Macy Lyford from the Aotearoa Māori Wahine team that finished runners-up to Papua New Guinea at the Pacific Cup in Auckland.
Vanessa Taylor is back after missing last week with work commitments, Chichi Beck travelling down from Auckland for the game, while Sian Wheeler returns for her first game in two seasons.
New Zealand under-19 international Emma McLeod will also become available if the Central Hinds lose today’s Super Smash playoff against the Northern Brave in Hamilton.
Medium pacer Olivia Roseingrave is in doubt with a troublesome ankle ligament injury she suffered before Christmas, while Jess Monk is out injured.
Coach Simon Roseingrave said the changes highlight the issues he and his fellow selectors have had in fielding a team from game to game in the Shrimpton Trophy, saying it’s a challenge, but they are lucky to have good depth.
He is confident the changes will result in an improved showing from last Sunday’s 121-run drubbing from Manawatū and the previous weekend’s eight-wicket defeat to Taranaki.
“The last two weeks, I would’ve expected if we had performed well, we would have had two wins, and to not even be close and to be pounded as we were is disappointing, and there are some players who really need to look at what they’re doing,” Roseingrave said.
The return of those players should also relieve some of the burden on experienced Hind Melissa Hansen, who has struggled for runs in recent games.
The Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus to play Taranaki:
Ocean Bartlett [captain], Chichi Beck, Madison Brown, Olivia Clark, Melissa Hansen, Lily Hunt, Macy Lyford, Emma McLeod [if Central Hinds miss Super Smash final], Dina Morrison, Jess Roseingrave, Olivia Roseingrave [subject to fitness], Vanessa Taylor, Sian Wheeler.
Making the semifinals for the first time in three years is the goal for Burger King Red Star as they open their Coastal Challenge campaign tomorrow with a home game against Whanganui Marist.
Red Star have underperformed in the past two seasons in the competition involving four club teams from Horowhenua-Kapiti, and two from Whanganui, and captain Jeremy Anderson is determined to turn around their fortunes.
“Realistically, we should be finishing in the top four with the side we’ve got, but with this competition at the start of the season, everyone is keen to play, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, you’re screaming out for players, and that makes it difficult, but if everyone is available most weeks I would expect us to get a semifinal spot and hopefully a home semifinal,” Jeremy Anderson said.
“They are good sides you’re playing, so it’s certainly not an easy comp, and there are good players scattered through every side, so you still have to play pretty well to do that, but if we’ve got all cylinders firing and everyone on deck, we should finish top four.”
Jeremy Anderson believes Red Star are well-balanced with a strong top six batters, including representative players Robbie Anderson, Jake Jonas, Mark Steventon, Samuel Payne, Nathan Elliott and himself. The bowling attack also has a strong look, with Ethan Childs, Pete Sigvertsen, George Deans, Zac Anstis, Patrick Wootton and Jonas all more than capable seam bowlers, while Trey Bidois will probably shoulder the spin bowling responsibilities.
Wootton and Elliott are the only regular players unavailable for tomorrow’s match.
Play is scheduled to get underway at 11 am tomorrow at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.