Inspire Living Greytown and Burger King Red Star will have a keen eye skywards in the hope that tomorrow’s forecast wet weather doesn’t eventuate, with vital points up for grabs in the fourth round of the Bidwill Cup.
The two teams meet in the crucial game of Wairarapa Cricket’s premier club championship at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval, and both need a good points tally to keep alive their chances of overhauling The Barbarians, who have an 11-point lead over Greytown with Red Star a further point behind.
With eight points for a first-innings win and eight bonus points [four batting and four bowling] in each innings, the lead, although handy, is far from insurmountable, but Greytown and Red Star need close to a maximum return and for the Barbarians to have a poor result against the struggling Lansdowne side, to make a substantial dent in the lead.
A good points haul for the Barbarians, though, over Lansdowne, who are out of the running at the bottom of the table, could put them in a strong position to potentially seal the championship against Greytown in the penultimate round next weekend.
Barbarians coach Mark Childs has named a near full-strength team for the game, spearheaded by the Post Office Hotel Wairarapa opening bowling attack of Ethan Childs and James Church, along with Central Districts U19 left-arm medium-pacer Angus Jaspers and left-arm spinner Quinn Childs.
That attack proved too good for Lansdowne in their first-round clash, dismissing them for a paltry 40, although Lansdowne fared much better in their second innings, scoring 160–9. A repeat of that first innings effort would, however, open the door for the Barbarians to push for a rare outright victory and increase their points haul.
Captain Quinn Childs has been to the fore of the Barbarians’ batting, registering half-centuries in his last two innings, but he will be looking for more support from the remainder of the batters, who have generally failed to flatter. The possible return of Ethan Childs to the top–middle order, if he is sufficiently over a shoulder injury that has restricted him to bowling, would give the Barbarians another strong hand.
Red Star will field a strong batting lineup for their clash with Greytown. The return of Jake Jonas from university and Mark Steventon from injury adds depth to an already formidable top order, which includes Wairarapa representatives Robbie Anderson, Jeremy Anderson, and Nathan Elliott.
The bowling attack will be led by veteran seam bowler Peter Sigvertsen, Patrick Wootton, and George Deans, while Jonas could prove a handful with his accurate medium paces, especially if the Oval pitch has a similar green look as last weekend’s representative deck.
Although confident of a good result, captain Jeremy Anderson knows it won’t be easy against a very capable Greytown side and said Red Star will need to improve on their first-round effort, which they lost on the first innings, to stay in the championship race.
Although Greytown boast no representative players, there is plenty of experience and gritty determination with players such as medium-fast bowler Tony Russo and batters Alistair ‘Tora’ Boyne, Hayden Ray, and wicketkeeper Cuong Truong, while Michael Courtman has displayed his all-rounder abilities as a consistent wicket-taker, and he is yet to be dismissed in his three turns at bat.
Both games are scheduled to start at 12 midday tomorrow.
The Barbarians lead on 44 points, with Inspire Living Greytown on 33, Burger King Red Star on 32, and Lansdowne are languishing on 16 points.