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Manawatu too good for Wairarapa

Sean Wakelin, bowling, took his first five-wicket bag on debut. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

A superb Trent McGrath unbeaten century was the catalyst for Manawatu’s first innings victory over Post Office Hotel Wairarapa in their Furlong Cup two-day match at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval over the weekend.

The left-hander strode to the wicket with Manawatu teetering at 77 runs for the loss of four wickets and was initially full of patience, but once he adjusted to the early season conditions, he flourished, hitting 11 fours and two sixes in his total of 123 not out.

McGrath shared two vital partnerships – a 67-run fifth-wicket stand with Curtis Heaphy [36], and an 89-run partnership for the last wicket with Jack Harris [25] which took the score to a respectable but gettable total of 275.

Medium-fast bowler Stefan Hook was the best of the Wairarapa bowlers, claiming 6-87 off a mammoth 30 overs.

Wairarapa coach Neil Perry praised McGrath’s effort but said his team’s fielding was affected by spending so long in the field. The game was stopped after 12 overs when it was realised the pitch had been marked out too long, and had to be redrawn.

A “new” game was started, and by the end of the first day, Wairarapa had spent almost 100 overs in the field.

Wairarapa had the whole of Sunday to chase down the target, but their innings started poorly with captain Gordon Reisima bowled by Brad Fulton on the first ball of the second over.

The home side struggled against the consistent line and length of the Manawatu seam attack. When Central Stag Seth Rance was caught at first slip for a golden duck, the score was 24-4, and Wairarapa’s chances faded.

They were eventually all out for 148, with number three Jared van Deventer top-scoring with 38. Jack Forrester [25] and Nathan Elliott [18] made useful contributions.

Wairarapa wicketkeeper Paddy Gluck congratulates Gordon Reisima for dismissing Manawatu opener Mason Hughes.

With more than 60 overs left in the day’s play, Manawatu strangely decided not to enforce the follow-on, and smashed 127-6 for their second dig, led by an aggressive 48 off 31 balls by opener Bevan Small.

Medium-pacer Sean Wakelin capped a sound debut with his first representative five-wicket bag, taking 5-53.

That left Wairarapa an unrealistic target of 255, which they made no effort to chase, and at stumps were 46-1 with Jake Jonas unbeaten on 26.

The game, however, will be best remembered for starting on a pitch marked out to almost 23 metres instead of the regulation 20.12 metres.

Wairarapa Cricket general manager Simon Roseingrave has launched an investigation into how the debacle happened and has already received apologies from Masterton District Council and the ground contractors Recreational Services.

The latter have formally apologised, have accepted full responsibility, and are undertaking a review, including an assurance it will never happen again.

Roseingrave said Wairarapa Cricket have apologised to Central Districts Cricket, who indicated that they would seek an explanation from the umpires for the bizarre circumstance.

BRIEF SCORES

Manawatu 275 [Trent McGrath 123no, Arana Noema-Barnett 37, Curtis Heaphy 36; Stefan Hook 6-87] and 127-6 dec. [Bevan Small 48, Noema-Barnett 35; Sean Wakelin 5-53] beat Wairarapa 148 [ Jared van Deventer 38; Brad Fulton 3-29, Jack Harris 3-29] and 46-1 [Jake Jonas 26no] on first innings.

PROVISIONAL POINTS

Hawke’s Bay 14; Manawatu 12; Horowhenua-Kapiti, 10, Whanganui 10; Wairarapa 4; Taranaki 3.

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