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Patience is the key for Whanganui encounter

Not looking too far ahead is the focus for Post Office Hotel Wairarapa coach Mark Childs for this weekend’s vital Furlong Cup match with Whanganui at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.

Wairarapa go into the two-day Hawke Cup Zone Two elimination series match with confidence high after a strong first innings victory over Manawatū three weeks ago, but despite the dominance of that effort, Childs said the players need to step up again.

“We want to look to continue from the improvement against Manawatū,” Childs said.

“We really outplayed them for a day and a half, so just to build on that, because the mental toughness we showed in that match was very pleasing compared to how we folded in our batting a wee bit against Taranaki.

“The guys being really disciplined and courageous and staying in the fight.

“Not giving our wickets away is a key thing for us.”

Childs believes bonus points, which are scored in the first 90 overs of each team’s first innings, will be crucial in the final shakedown for a Hawke Cup challenge, so the initial target will be to amass as many points as possible, four for scoring 300 runs or taking nine wickets, before looking at pushing for a possible outright.

“If we get ourselves in a position to press for an outright, we’ll be pushing as hard as we can, but our focus will be on that first session on the first day and not looking too far ahead.”

There are two changes to the Wairarapa team from that Manawatū game, with former Black Cap medium pacer Seth Rance fit again, although he will likely only play as a batter, and veteran all-rounder Jaco Vorster, also back from injury, coming in for Samuel Payne [playing for CD at the national under-19 tournament] and Gus Borren.

The onus will fall on the top order to build a good platform, starting with captain Robbie Anderson, who has shown maturity with two half-centuries in the first two rounds, but Childs will want to see more from the remainder of the top five.

Loan player Taylor Bettelheim is yet to fire with the bat, but he has the class to post a big score; Jake Jonas posted an unbeaten century in club cricket last Saturday, Jeremy Anderson scored a brave 74no in holding out Taranaki in the first round, and Rance has scored big runs quickly in the past at this level.

The middle and lower order, though, are also capable batters, and Childs feels that
all-round ability could be the advantage they have over Whanganui.

“We bat right down to 11, so it’s really a team of all-rounders when you look at it,” he said.

“They can all hold a bat, but the bowling has probably been the most pleasing thing this season with the help of Doug Bracewell and the consistency they’re showing.

“We’ve got three specific bowling plans that we use, and we have good clarity around what their roles are, so hopefully, our bowlers will keep that consistency, and we may have a bit of an edge there.”

The seam bowling attack will be led by Ethan Childs, who picked up seven wickets in a club game last week, while James Church, Jack Wakeling, George Deans and Jake Jonas have shown good consistency.

Left-armer Quinn Childs and leg-spinner Bettelheim will front
the slow bowling attack.

Childs is wary of the threat posed by Whanganui, who come into the game on the back of a first innings win over Taranaki, where they posted 343–8, and will be strengthened even more if prolific run machine Ben Smith, who has been the bane of many Wairarapa teams over the years, is free from his Central Stag commitments.

“On their day, they’re no easy beats, and we’re going to have to be on top of our game,” Childs concluded.

The match is also being promoted as a family fun day, with supporters urged to bring down their barbecues and deck chairs and get behind their team.

    Play is scheduled to get underway at the Oval at 10.30am tomorrow and Sunday.

Wairarapa team to play Whanganui:

Robbie Anderson [captain], Taylor Bettelheim, Jake Jonas, Jeremy Anderson, Seth Rance, Jaco Vorster, Nathan Elliott [wk], Quinn Childs, Ethan Childs, Jack Wakeling, George Deans, James Church

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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