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Sky Stadium just the spot for a Red Star

Three days after Australia pipped the Black Caps in a last-ball thriller in the opening game of the T20 series in front of a 20000-strong crowd, there will be an entirely different atmosphere tomorrow at Sky Stadium when Burger King Red Star meet Kapiti Old Boys in a Coastal Challenge game.

The rare opportunity to play at the international stadium came after the Wellington Blaze failed to get home advantage for the Hallyburton-Johnstone Shield final, making the ground available. With one of the groundsmen having previously played for Kapiti Old Boys and the head groundsman having connections with Horowhenua-Kapiti, the offer was made to the Paraparaumu-based club to play the game there as part of their 50th-anniversary celebrations.

The one-dayer was originally scheduled as a home game for Red Star at Queen Elizabeth Park, but once the offer to play at Sky Stadium was proposed by Kapiti captain Jayden Rose-Miles, the Red Star players jumped at the opportunity.

However, the offer came with some strict rules, including there being no crowd, and Red Star captain Jeremy Anderson said that “the whole experience is going to be quite interesting just being in a big stadium like that and it being empty.

“It’s bloody cool because we’d normally never play on a ground like that, and it will be a “oncer”, and I know a few guys might have the chance to pay on the Basin [Reserve], but this is a new experience we wouldn’t normally get so it should be a good one. I don’t think we’ll play on a better surface, so there won’t be any excuses.”

Unsurprisingly, Anderson has had little difficulty assembling a team for the crucial clash, but Red Star will be without the in-form Jake Jonas, who has returned to university in Christchurch, although the top-order batter continued his scoring spree yesterday with 90 for Central Districts ‘A’ in the first of two games against a New Zealand Development Team in Levin.

Despite missing Jonas, Red Star will still field a strong side, with 10 of the 12 named having represented Wairarapa.

Kapiti Old boys are also a useful side, with Rose-Miles a consistent scorer at rep level, and Zac Benton and Carter Andrews are arguably the best opening bowling attack in the competition.

Anderson is confident, given their unbeaten record and the solid individual form of the players, of taking a further step towards locking in a home semifinal.

Red Star lead the championship after four rounds, while Kapiti are fourth with a one-win, two-loss record.

Red Star team from – Jeremy Anderson [captain], Robbie Anderson, Trey Bidois, Ethan Childs, Quinn Childs, Nathan Elliott, George Deans, Mark Steventon, Paddy Wootton, Zach Anstis, Vikas Pal, and James Church.

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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