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Korus in good health – coach

Macy Lyford scored a valuable 46 not out in the win over Hawke’s Bay at QE Park Oval. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Women’s cricket in Wairarapa is in good health, with the district’s flagship team continuing to punch above their weight.

The Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus season finished with the team assured of the runners-up position in the Shrimpton Trophy after their final championship match against Taranaki in Palmerston North on February 12 was abandoned due to heavy rain.

A game against Wellington A, which was to be played last Sunday was postponed until late March because of the Omicron covid-19 outbreak. If the game goes ahead, it will now be played by an East Coast XI, involving players from Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay.

The Korus had four wins in the Central Districts championship, with two over Nelson, and one each over Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay. They lost to winners Manawatu twice and to Hawke’s Bay.

“Second on the table is a reasonably successful season when you consider the fact that we had eight fixtures for the first time, and one of them was abandoned,” coach Simon Roseingrave said.

The first loss to Manawatu was down to a shortage of players and next to no build-up, and the second was a poor effort, and the team have struggled away to Hawke’s Bay over the past three seasons.

“Take those out of it, and we actually performed really solidly across the season.”

The best performance of the season for Roseingrave was the gutsy effort against Taranaki at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, which was shortened to 20 overs a side because of rain.

The Korus scored 93-7 and then restricted the hosts to 78-7.

“There was the potential of not even playing that day. It was on a difficult pitch, we didn’t know if we had enough runs, and the bowling and fielding was probably the best performance we put out there.

“We just absolutely throttled them after only having an average score on that pitch, and in the end, we came through quite easily because we went out there with the right mental approach.”

The other effort that impressed Roseingrave was the 19-run win over Hawke’s Bay on Queen Elizabeth Park Oval in January, where the Korus scored 195-8 off their 40 overs and then held off a strong challenge to win by 19 runs.

“It almost felt like one of those games we had a couple of seasons ago where we got to a reasonably dominant position and let the opposition get away from us, and that’s not taking any credit away from Hawke’s Bay. They batted really well, but we managed to turn it and put the pressure back on them and come away with the result.

“It was the end of a doubleheader weekend which we’re not used to, it was hot, and beating Hawke’s Bay at any time is a great result for us.”

Melissa Hansen on her way to 78 against Hawke’s Bay, her second half-century in three innings.

The Korus’ second placing is even more meritorious given that injuries to players such as Elizabeth Cohr and Olivia Roseingrave, and the absence of experienced all-rounder Melissa Hansen, Ocean Bartlett, and Gemma Sims to the Central Hinds tested the squad’s depth.

The Hinds trio’s commitment was evident when they left Tauranga early on a Saturday morning after a Friday game to travel back to Greytown to play Nelson in the first of a doubleheader weekend.

In her three appearances with the Korus, Hansen showed that her talents are often wasted at the Hinds, where she gets few opportunities batting in the lower order.

The 25-year-old scored three half-centuries, 59 against Nelson, and 78 and 56 against Hawke’s Bay, a feat that Roseingrave believes is unprecedented at senior women’s level.

“Mel came back and showed what she can do, and that showed other players what’s required at this level to take the next step up.

“Ocean and Gemma are getting more opportunities at the Hinds level and with five players in the CD U19 side who are national champions, that’s a massive thing for Wairarapa Cricket when you look at our development systems.”

Of the bowlers, medium-pacer Ella Southey led the way with 6-25 against Nelson and 13 wickets at an average of 7.5.

“It was an outstanding season. She was only able to play five of the seven games we actually got on the field, and that even says more about it, but we had good consistency among our bowling ranks which is really good, and we had bowlers who know how to bowl tight.”

Roseingrave handed the captaincy to 18-year-old Bartlett, a move he feels is a positive in building for the future.

“We’ve probably got better depth than some other districts, and we can punch above our weight, so our systems are still working, which is really good. If we continue to have players selected for first-class that puts pressure on at the other end but that’s what we’re here for.”

One area where Roseingrave said the Korus are short is in the top order batting.

“We’re missing somebody at number three and that means some players are being pushed into positions that don’t suit their skill set or mental approach.

“Macy Lyford is somebody who would benefit at six or seven, and she showed that against Hawke’s Bay when she made 46no off 33 balls and that was just a fantastic innings.”

Of the young players, Roseingrave cited Emma McLeod, Vanessa Taylor and Sian Wheeler as showing a lot of promise. There were others, too, coming through at secondary school level who would push for places in coming seasons.

As for his coaching role, which he has held for three years, he will review his position in the off-season, with increasing pressure coming from his secondment to NZ Cricket in looking at the structure of junior cricket.

“If I’m to continue coaching, I’ve got to make sure I provide the best input I can into the side, and I can’t do it half-hearted, so it will be something I will reflect on.”

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