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Red Star, United target top four

Ethan Childs … to bat at number three and open the bowling for United. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Burger King Red Star can secure a semifinal spot in the Coastal Challenge with victory over Weraroa in Levin today.

Red Star share the lead with Paraparaumu in the combined Wairarapa, Whanganui, and Horowhenua-Kapiti competition, whereas Weraroa have yet to win any of their four games.

With three games to play, Red Star need at least one win to lock in a top-four spot.

With tough games against Paraparaumu and Whanganui Marist to come, today’s match offers them the best chance.

Red Star captain Pete Sigvertsen’s accurate bowling will be crucial on the low, slow Weraroa pitch.

Red Star lost their first game of the season last Saturday, going down to United in a local derby, and captain Peter Sigvertsen said that loss puts more emphasis on today’s game.

“Against a team that hasn’t won a game this season, this is a banana skin game,” he said.

“If we want to finish in the top two, which is ideally what we want to do, we’re going must win this game.”

Sigvertsen said that the team needed to learn from last weekend’s loss and stick to their game plan.

“For the team that we fielded I was worried about where our runs were going to come from, but to score 242 missing a lot of our top-order batsmen was pleasing.

“What let us down was bowling to a plan. We set fields for full straight bowling but then started bowling short and then vice versa. As long as we bowl to our plan, we should be all right.”

Red Star will miss top-order batsmen Paddy Gluck and Jeremy Anderson, and all-rounders Sean Wakelin and Roshan Sugathan for the game.

Spin bowlers Ojas Patel and Yogesh Sharma have been brought in to give Sigvertsen more bowling options on the traditionally low, slow Weraroa pitch.

While Sigvertsen is confident he has a side that can topple the winless Weraroa, he is also keeping a close eye on the weather forecast.

“The forecast isn’t great. There could be a few showers, but it’s a game that even if we get 20 overs in, we’ll be pushing for the win.”

Meanwhile, United are also well-positioned to make the semifinals, having won two of their three games, but the combined side face their biggest test of the championship today – away to defending champions Levin Old Boys.

The two teams share fourth place in the competition and although a loss won’t be terminal, it would severely dent United’s top-four aspirations.

The top-order batting has been key to United’s success with captain Jaco Vorster leading the way. The hard-hitting South African has scored 239 runs at an average of 79.6 over the three games played.

Wairarapa representatives John McKenzie, Jared van Deventer, Ethan Childs, and Vorster fill the top four positions and will need to set a good platform.

Vorster has often stressed the need for the middle-lower order to score more runs and that will be crucial against a bowling attack featuring five Horowhenua-Kapiti rep bowlers – seamers Fraser Bartholomew, Daemon Kennett, and Xitij Sakhalkar, and spinners Dion Sanson, and Keegan McLachlan.

Old Boys also possess a dangerous batting line-up with Jamie Pinfold, Sanson, Chad Law, Matthew Good, and Bailey Te Tomo solid contributors at representative level.

The responsibility will fall on pace bowlers Ethan Childs and the surprise package Gurdev Singh, who has claimed eight wickets in three games, to restrict the dangerous top order.

Left-arm spinner Quinn Childs is expected to spearhead the attack through the middle overs.

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