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Rance boost for Wairarapa

Seth Rance … first game in three seasons for Wairarapa. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
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Seth Rance will play his first game for Highmark Homes Wairarapa in three seasons in the final round of the Furlong Cup against Manawatu in Palmerston North today and tomorrow.

The former Black Cap medium-fast bowler has been struggling with a calf injury and hasn’t played for the Central Stags since the Ford Trophy match against Canterbury in mid-December.

He will use this weekend’s two-day Hawke Cup elimination match at Fitzherbert Park as part of his preparations to return to the Stags for the resumption of the Plunket Shield in March.

Rance last played for Wairarapa in a first-innings win over Manawatu in the 2017-18 season. He will bat in the middle order, and although his bowling will be limited, coach Neil Perry said Rance’s inclusion is a big morale boost for the side.

“It’s not only the quality he brings in terms of cricket, but just his mana, his understanding of the game, and he brings the best out of people.

“He shows real leadership on and off the field, it’s always a pleasure to have him around, and the lesser experienced players will get a lot out of being on the field with an international cricketer.”

Rance’s inclusion is one of several changes to the team who fought out a brave draw against Hawke’s Bay two weeks ago.

Batting hero Jake Jonas, who batted through the second innings of that game to finish 70 not out, is unavailable, and left-arm spinner Quinn Childs, and batsman John McKenzie have returned to university.

A surprise inclusion could be top-order batsman Liam Burling, who has been playing club cricket in Wellington, but has struggled to break into his club’s premier side and is keen to revitalise his representative career after almost two seasons away.

Burling’s inclusion would be a further boost with the availability of opener Robbie Anderson in doubt.

Veteran medium-pacer Jared Watt is also expected to make his first representative appearance of the season.

“We’ve still got a good strong side out there,” Perry said.

“We’ll obviously miss the spin option of Quinn, but Jared van Deventer can bowl some good spin, and when people aren’t available it gives opportunities to others.”

Perry hoped that the team had learned from the Hawke’s Bay game which they lost on the first innings and can finish the season on a high.

“We’ve done quite a bit of analysis on the last game.

“We did a lot of good things in that game for long periods, so we just want to extend that and fight longer and harder. If we do that, the result will look after itself.

“For me, over the past few years, we tend to play our best cricket with our backs against the wall … I’m just looking forward to us going out there and fighting hard for every delivery.”

Wairarapa has a good record against their nearest neighbours, having won two of their past three Furlong Cup clashes on first innings.

Wairarapa squad: Gordon Reisima [captain], Robbie Anderson, Jared van Deventer, Seth Rance, Jaco Vorster, Jack Forrester, Mark Steventon, Paddy Gluck [wk], Gus Borren, Peter Sigvertsen, Jared Watt, and Liam Burling.

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