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Rance dynamic in outright victory

Seth Rance, shown batting for the Central Stags, scored two brilliant half-centuries for Wairarapa against Manawatu at the weekend. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Wairarapa end 37-year drought

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Seth Rance led the way for Highmark Homes Wairarapa in their first outright victory over Manawatu in 37 years in Palmerston North over the weekend.

The Central Stags medium-fast bowler has been recovering from a calf injury suffered in a one-day game against Canterbury before Christmas, but it was with the bat that Rance made a massive impact in the two-day game, smashing two brilliant half-centuries.

The first effort of 58 was to help secure a valuable first-innings lead, and then he hit a dazzling 89 not out in the second innings to guide Wairarapa to a deserved outright win.

Nathan Elliott scored an important 28 runs in Wairarapa’s first innings. PHOTO/FILE

The victory was even more special given that as many as 12 players were injured or unavailable because of school or university, and middle-order batsmen Nathan Elliott and Reece Hannam were late inclusions in the side on Friday night.

“Very satisfying and especially at their home, and they had a decent side too. The boys certainly celebrated well,” Rance said.

“It was a good performance by everyone really. The guys stood up when they needed to.”

After winning the toss and inserting the home side on a Fitzherbert Park pitch with a tinge of green in it, Wairarapa bowled superbly to restrict Manawatu to 153.

The home team struggled to gain any momentum, with Arana Noema-Barnett, batting at number four, top-scoring with 41.

Wairarapa strike bowler Stefan Hook proved a handful on the helpful pitch and claimed three wickets for 23 runs off 16 devastating overs. However, Rance felt all the bowlers played their parts.

“The guys stuck to their skillsets. Pete Sigvertsen bowled nice and straight and they couldn’t play him. He got a couple of key wickets, and Jared Watt in his first rep bowl in about five years bowled beautifully and had the ball on a string.”

Rance came to the crease with Wairarapa at 60-2, but the loss of three wickets had them teetering at 94-5. Nathan Elliott then joined him in the defining partnership of the innings.

The pair added 61 runs, and when Rance was out for 58 [including six fours and one six] off 68 balls, Wairarapa had secured first-innings points.

Wairarapa were all out for 189, with a first-innings lead of 36 runs.

“Nathan Elliott was a late call-up on Friday night, and he was absolutely brilliant. He looked one of the better batsmen out there,” Rance said.

“He stuck to his game. He got peppered with a few short ones and one broke his helmet, but that was a key partnership that got us over the first innings hurdle and gave us a little bit of a lead.”

Manawatu’s second innings was all aggression as they looked to set the visitors a challenging target, with enough overs left to bowl them out.

Former Wairarapa opener Mason Hughes led the way with a run-a-ball 77 [10 fours and one six]. Curtis Heaphy and Trent McGrath chipped in with half-centuries.

In the end, Wairarapa were given a target of 223 off 48 overs, and they made a cautious approach – there were no hints of the all-out attack that would come after tea.

Rance strode to the wicket at 54-2, and soon after was joined by Jaco Vorster with the score at 63-3 in the 21st over.

Initially, they were watchful, but it didn’t take long before the pair took to the Manawatu bowling, adding 128 runs in less than 17 overs.

“We started off with no real intentions of going for the runs, and we were quite content having won the first innings, but we would see where we were at tea [19-0], and I got in, and with Jaco we had about two or three overs in a row with 10 runs off them, and that broke the back of it.

“The run rate was all of sudden at four, and we thought we can win this and did it comfortably in the end with about six overs left.”

When Vortser was out for 50 off 47 balls, including four fours and two sixes, Wairarapa were in touch of victory.

Jack Forrester then joined Rance, with the pair seeing the team home to victory in the 43rd over.

Rance’s outstanding 89 came off 66 balls, including five fours and five sixes, and was a reminder of what a quality batsman the former Black Cap is when he sets his mind to it.

“Personally, to prove to myself and also contribute to the team, I love playing for winning a game.

“I’m pretty proud to contribute, but it just shows what I can do when I give myself a chance and bat as long as I can.”

Rance hopes he can return to the Central Stags for the last of the Ford Trophy games in two weeks or the resumption of the Plunket Shield next month.

In the meantime, he could also turn out for his beloved Greytown club in the Bidwill Cup championship.

One who missed much of Wairarapa’s win was coach Neil Perry, who was ill, although he did get to Fitzherbert Park for the concluding stages of the game.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the boys, they were fantastic,” Perry said.

“The last couple of sessions we were brilliant when they were coming hard at us, and we just had a plan and stuck to it and effected it brilliantly.

“The whole effort over the weekend with 12 people out injured and unavailable was just phenomenal and a brilliant way to finish the season.

“This is the third time in four years we’ve turned over Manawatu, and it shows what we are capable of, and where the guys are as a group and speaks volumes about their character.”

Although Wairarapa won on first innings last season and in 2017-18, it is their first outright win over their near-neighbours since 1984, when the Dermot Payton-captained side won by 42 runs at Fitzherbert Park.

BRIEF SCORES

Manawatu 153 [Arana Noema-Barnett 41; Stefan Hook 3-23, Pete Sigvertsen 2-28, Jaco Vorster 2-6] and 258-7 dec. [Mason Hughes 77, Curtis Heaphy 58, Trent McGrath 50, Logan McHardy 33; Hook 3-56, Vorster 3-57] lost to Wairarapa 189 [Seth Rance 58, Nathan Elliott 28, Gus Borren 26; Time Richards 4-34] and 226-4 [Rance 89no, Vorster 50, Jack Forrester 25no] by six wickets.

FURLONG CUP POINTS

Hawke’s Bay 62, Horowhenua-Kapiti 44, Manawatu 41, Wairarapa 40, Taranaki 35, Whanganui 30.

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