Seth Rance will be available for Wairarapa for the first two rounds of the Furlong Cup. PHOTOS/FILE
Veteran medium-fast bowler Seth Rance is relishing the chance to play some club and representative cricket in a delayed start to his season with the Central Stags.
The former Black Cap decided over winter not to play the first four Plunket Shield rounds, and won’t return to the Stags until their first Ford Trophy one-day clash with Otago in Dunedin in late November.
“I haven’t retired from four-day cricket, but the best option for me moving forward was to make sure I am 100 per cent fit for white ball cricket,” Rance said.
“In the past, I’ve gone into the season and played the four-dayers and not been at 100 per cent for those games.
“It’s also for a bit more family balance, so my season starts a lot later, and it’s allowed me over the winter not to be training fulltime and gives me a bit more time at home with the family,” the father of three young children said.
The decision is not only a fillip for the flagging club cricket scene but also for the Post Office Hotel Wairarapa representative side, who have lost the services of record wicket-taker Stefan Hook.
Hook has moved to Australia and would have been unavailable regardless because of a serious knee injury.
Although Rance cannot turn out for Greytown in the opening round of the Bidwill Cup today, he will spearhead the attack for the Osborne Group Strikers in the first two rounds of the Wairarapa Cricket T20 franchise competition on Sunday.
After that, the 35-year-old will play for Wairarapa in the first two rounds of the Furlong Cup [Hawke Cup elimination series] against Whanganui and Hawke’s Bay.
“My focus is getting ready for the white ball games which will allow me to play two Hawke Cup games and also the franchise games. I think I can play four of those and then when possible play for Greytown.”
Rance said the T20 competition, featuring four teams with players selected for an IPL-style draft, could be the best thing to happen in local cricket for a while.
“It’s an exciting thing to play against guys you normally play with, and that should make it quite competitive and to see so many good players, and there are obviously lots of players who missed out, so it’s a good thing.”
As for the upcoming representative season, Rance is confident of a good showing despite the loss of Hook and the unavailability of experienced campaigners Gordon Reisima and Andy Dodd for the early rounds.
“There’s a really good core bunch of guys there who will be competitive at different times. I don’t think we’re going to knock over teams like Hawke’s Bay, but we’ll play some really good cricket at different times. It’s a little bit of a rebuild, but that gives younger guys an opportunity,” he said.
The T20 franchise competition starts tomorrow with a doubleheader. Rance’s Strikers take on the Forrester Valuation Vikings at Wairarapa College, and Ray White Pirates play Subway Sixers at Park Sportsground at 11am.
In the second round starting at 2.30pm the Strikers play the Pirates at Park Sportsground, and the Vikings and Sixers clash at Waicol.
Four teams – Inspire Living Greytown, Burger King Red Star, MacDonald’s Lansdowne, and the Rathkeale 2XI – are contesting Wairarapa Cricket’s premier club championship, the Bidwill Cup, which starts today.
The competition is to be played under the 100-over format, with points for outright wins, winning draws, and losing draws. The team batting first can bat for a maximum of 55 overs, and batting and bowling bonus points are awarded in the first innings.
The teams are to play a full round-robin, followed by semifinals and a two-day final at the weekend before Christmas.
Greytown host Red Star, and Rathkeale are at home to Lansdowne in today’s opening round of games, starting at noon.