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Red Star, United eyeing semis spots

Mark Steventon is a vital new cog in the Red Star top order. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
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A good start to the Coastal Challenge Championship is crucial for the two Wairarapa teams in the interdistrict one-day cricket competition.

The championship featuring eight club teams from Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kapiti, and Whanganui is played over a full round-robin of seven games, followed by semifinals and a final.

Burger King Red Star have had the better run over the past two seasons, having made the semifinals, only to miss out on the crucial home advantage with one or two sloppy losses, while United have battled in mid-table.

Red Star captain Stefan Hook said a fast start is imperative to be in the hunt again.

“We’ve had good results the past two years in this competition, and there’s no reason we can’t repeat and go further. But a good start is crucial so we aren’t chasing wins down the stretch,” Hook said.

Regan Fricker’s accurate slow-medium bowling could be vital on the Greytown pitch.

Standing in Red Star’s way in today’s opening game at Greytown are United, who have become Stars’ bogey team, having won this season’s T20 and two-day clashes, and last season’s one-day game.

Red Star will be at near full strength for the 50-over game, with top-order batter Jeremy Anderson and experienced medium-slow bowler Peter Sigvertsen, the key absentees.

Wairarapa representatives Robbie Anderson and Jake Jonas [in his last game for the club before heading to university] will open the batting, with Nathan Elliott, Nathan Chaney, prolific former Wairarapa College batter Mark Steventon, Paddy Gluck, and Hook making up the top-middle order.

The hard-hitting Vikas Pal, and former All Black Zac Guildford are also capable of scoring quickly in the middle-lower order. Hook, promising Rathkeale medium-pacer James Church, and offspinner Ojas Patel are expected to shoulder much of the bowling load.

The makeup of the United side is unknown but the batting is likely to revolve around representative players Jared van Deventer, Jaco Vorster, and Gus Borren, as well as Kishan Dhiman, allrounder Robbie Speers, and wicketkeeper Andrew Taylor.

Much of the bowling will rest with medium-pacer Gurdev Singh and the slow bowlers Regan Fricker and Sanjay Patel, who could be hard to score off on the usually slow Greytown pitch.

United have reason to be confident after making the Coastal Challenge two-day final, only to lose on first innings, and Hook is predicting a tough battle between the two talented sides.

Play starts at noon today at Greytown’s Memorial Park.

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