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Red Star brace for torrid semifinal

“We’ll have to be on our game to beat them, that’s for sure.”

That’s the view of Burger King Red Star captain Jeremy Anderson heading into tomorrow’s Coastal Challenge semifinal at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval against Kāpiti Old Boys, the only team to have beaten Stars in the championship this season.

Red Star locked in the top qualifiers spot last Saturday with a win over Paraparaumu, producing a solid batting effort to chase down 163 in less than 26 overs. That was a good return to form after three below-par performances with the bat, including a woeful 119 against Kāpiti at Sky Stadium, Wellington.

On that occasion, the Red Star batters were surprised by the tricky nature of the pitch and failed to adapt to the conditions against an accurate Kāpiti bowling attack led by Horowhenua-Kāpiti opening bowlers Carter Andrews and Zack Benton, with support from the consistent Tristan Cloete and Michael Newell.

“That was obviously our downfall against them last time, so we’re going to have to post a reasonable score if we bat first and if we bowl first, it’s sticking to the plans and restricting them as much as we can, but they’ve got a very good lineup so it’s not going to be an easy game and hopefully we can turn up and put it on the board,” Anderson said.

“Probably their key guys are Tristan Cloete – he can bat and ball – and with their batting, Jayden [Rose-Miles] and Taine Halbert are probably their other key batters. Tristan bowled really well against us last time, and Zack, Carter and Michael Newall, so bowling is probably their strength.”

The return to form against Paraparaumu of Wairarapa captain Robbie Anderson at the top of the order with 74 not out and the talented Mark Steventon [40], along with Trey Bidois, who looked good, scoring 20 off the back of a matchwinning century against Weraroa, was a welcome sight on the eve of the business end of the season.

Red Star are missing two key bowlers, medium pacer Ethan Childs and left-arm spinner Quinn Childs, replaced by all-rounder Jaco Vorster and off-spinner Shamal Perera. Despite the absence of the Childs twins, the home side will still front with a dangerous bowling attack.

The late-season Oval pitch should suit veteran medium pacer Pete Sigvertsen, who will share the seam bowling with Patrick Wootton, George Deans, Steventon and Vorster, while Perera and promising legspinner Zach Anstis provide Anderson with plenty of bowling options.

Although he intends to wait until tomorrow before he decides to bat or bowl first, given that the pitch was watered on Wednesday, Anderson is leaning towards inserting the opposition after Red Star’s recent form.

“We would probably bowl first against them just after last time and particularly the way we played last week as well. I just feel we’ve got a very good batting side, but we get a little bit overexcited at times, and if we’re chasing, we’re in a bit more control, and we can time it rather than try and set, but I need to look at the pitch first.”

Anderson also feels that playing at home and avoiding a long travel day is a big advantage and the players are determined to make the final for the first time.

“Back to the boneyard; the boys are pretty happy about that. We’ve performed pretty well out there this year, so everyone is looking forward to it,” he concluded.

The match is scheduled to get underway at the Oval at 12 midday tomorrow.

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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