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Red Star, United in vital games

Jared van Deventer is key to United posting a big score. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

The Wairarapa teams’ semifinal aspirations go on the line today with crucial games in the Coastal Challenge.

Burger King Red Star host Paraparaumu in a top-of-the-table clash at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval, and United play Whanganui Marist at Greytown.

Paraparaumu lead the combined Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Whanganui competition on 19 points, with Red Star on 17. United, Marist, and defending champions Levin Old Boys are equal third on 12.

A win for Red Star would secure their semifinal spot.

Red Star skipper Peter Sigvertsen … wants a win in top of the table clash with Paraparaumu.

A loss could mean Red Star must beat Marist in their final game next month and captain Peter Sigvertsen wants to wrap up their place in the top four before Christmas.

“Because we have the bye in the last round, it’s quite niggly. We need to win at least one of our next two games, so we will be really pushing for a win to get it done earlier than later,” Sigvertsen said.

“It won’t be easy. They’re quite a strong team, and that’s why they’re top, so we’ve got to make sure we take our chances with their dangerous batsmen.”

Red Star will be missing three key players – top-order batsmen Robbie and Jeremy Anderson, and allrounder Stefan Hook, who are attending weddings.

Sigvertsen said Hook’s absence is a big blow as he was scoring runs in the top order, and he is arguably the competition’s top bowler.

Two of Wairarapa’s promising young batsmen, Rathkeale’s Jake Jonas, and Wairarapa College’s Mark Steventon, who will make his Coastal Challenge debut, come into the side.

“I’m stoked to able to call on those two to come into our batting lineup, and hopefully they can score a few runs and really enjoy the cricket,” Sigvertsen said.

Another newcomer to the Red Star line-up is Dean Napier, an allrounder who has moved to the region from Wellington, and impressed Sigvertsen at training on Wednesday night.

Left-arm spin bowler Roshan Sugathan, Rathkeale medium-pacer Charlie Sims, and top-order batsman Paddy Gluck also return to the side.

United’s prospects against Marist will centre on their representative players, in particular the experienced South African duo of Jared van Deventer and captain Jaco Vorster, who have been in outstanding form with the bat.

Van Deventer underlined his class with a brilliant 90 for Wairarapa in tricky batting conditions in their Furlong Cup fixture with Horowhenua-Kapiti last Saturday, and although Vorster failed in that two-day match, he is averaging 79.67, including one century [100 v Red Star] in the Coastal Challenge.

Fellow Wairarapa representatives, opener John McKenzie, hard-hitting allrounder Gus Borren, medium-fast bowler Ethan Childs, and left-arm spinner Quinn Childs, give United a strong hand.

However, the combined side won’t find it easy against Marist, who boast several Whanganui representatives, including veteran batsman Mark Fraser, opener Chris Stewart, and allrounders Ross and Fraser Kinnerley.

A win for United would keep them on track for a semifinal spot, and potential home advantage, with two of the weaker teams, Whanganui United and Whanganui Collegiate to play in January.

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