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New-look Coastal Challenge

Red Star’s Stefan Hook hits out against Whanganui Collegiate in last year’s Coast Challenge. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa’s leading cricketers will play in a new look Coastal Challenge, featuring all three formats of the game.

The competition involving teams from Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kapiti, and Whanganui has previously been a one-day competition played from October to February.

But with all three districts struggling for enough quality teams to play in their respective premier competitions, the Coastal Challenge has been expanded to T20 and two-day games.

Red Star have competed in the combined championship over the past three seasons, and made the semifinals in the past two years.

United, a combined side made up of players from Lansdowne, Marist, and Greytown contested the 2018-19 and 2020-21 competitions, while Lansdowne played in the 2019-20 season.

This season’s Coastal Challenge will start with two weekends of T20 matches.

The eight teams are split into two pools of four.

Pool Two, which includes Red Star and United, will host Kapiti Old Boys and Paraparaumu in a doubleheader round on October 16.

All teams will converge on Donnelly Park, Levin the following Saturday for the final round of pool games and the playoffs, with the top team in each pool to meet in the final.

The two-day series will be played from November to January, with Red Star and United to clash over two weekends in November. The winners of the four games will play in semifinals in December, with the final set for early January.

Wairarapa Cricket general manager Simon Roseingrave said the two-day competition was dependent on the dates for the Furlong Cup [Hawke Cup Zone Two elimination series].

With Hawke’s Bay being the holder of the Hawke Cup, NZ Cricket’s premier trophy for minor district cricket, the Furlong Cup must be completed by mid-January.

Roseingrave said Central Districts Cricket are still waiting to learn when and where first-class cricket will be played, and that could impact on the district representative season.

The Coastal Challenge will wrap up with the premier one-day competition from late January to March.

The extended combined competition will also necessitate a change in how Wairarapa’s premier club trophy, the Bidwill Cup, is awarded.

Roseingrave said they are working through the options for the prestigious trophy.

Women’s Cricket

Gemma Sims was one of the stars of the Wairarapa Korus in 2020-21. The team will play more games this season in an extended district competition.

Wairarapa’s female cricketers will also get more opportunities to shine in the new season, with a fifth team added to the Mike Shrimpton Trophy competition.

Nelson joins Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, and Taranaki in the premier Central Districts championship for women’s cricket.

The Shrimpton Trophy will be played over two full rounds. A highlight will be a doubleheader weekend in Wairarapa, featuring the home side, Nelson, defending champions Hawke’s Bay, and Taranaki. Featherston Cup

One popular preseason cricket tournament has already fallen victim to the uncertainty surrounding sporting activities because of covid-19 restrictions.

The Property Brokers Featherston Cup was set for three weekends in late September and early October and was to coincide with the opening of the Featherston Cricket Club’s new artificial pitch.

Twelve teams had entered the revamped competition, including Wairarapa clubs Greytown, Lansdowne, and Red Star, as well as Skulls – a team featuring present and past Wairarapa representative players – and several Wellington-based sides.

The Featherston Cup will now be held at the completion of the 2021-22 season in April.

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