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Season ends with a damp squib

Roger Parker
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A frustrating season ended on a rather disappointing note for Burger King Red Star at the Queen Elizabeth Park Oval in Masterton on Saturday.

A much-needed win after three consecutive heavy losses seemed entirely within Red Star’s grasp approaching the midway point of the second innings. However, after making a bright start to a gettable target, three quick wickets turned into a middle- and then late-order collapse, handing the win to Whanganui United. It’s not the first time this season that Red Star’s battling has looked less than stable.

Red Star won the toss and elected to bowl on a wicket that had more than a hint of green about it.

The match started promisingly enough for Red Star, with sharp, accurate bowling. Two quick caught-and-bowled dismissals before the spectators had settled in put Red Star in the driver’s seat.

The first dismissal, a comfortably taken return catch off the bowling of Grant Wootton to dismiss Zeb Small for a duck, was followed soon after when James Church did exactly the same thing, after Gerard Hobbs played too far in front of himself and spooned the delivery back.

He was also out for duck and at that early stage of proceedings, Wanganui were 8-2, with their only runs coming from extras. Hobbs would more than make up for his scoreless innings by taking three key wickets for next to nothing later in the day.

Simon Badger held the Wanganui effort together, finishing with 69 from 129 balls.

He was last man out when Wooten, [with another catch] and Church combined to take his wicket and bring the Wanganui innings to an end at 195 in the 47th over.

As well as a healthy contribution with the bat, Badger would be at the forefront of squashing Red Star’s chase.

redstar vs united at masterton park oval

While Wootton and Church started the game off with a bang, it was George Deans, with 3-43 off his 10 overs, and Ojas Patel, who threw down 10 very miserly overs of leftarm orthodox to finish with figures of 1-19, who gave Wanganui the most trouble and ensured Red Star would not be chasing a big total.

Dion Knight and Richard French opened the batting for Red Star. French looked comfortable, picking up a couple of boundaries but was first back to the pavilion, falling victim to Harpreet Binning for 12. What had started out as a solid start at the required run rate soon slowed.

Jeremy Anderson stood out in Red Star’s batting effort with an impressive 65 from 79 balls, including six boundaries, two of which were handsomely dispatched over the rope for 6.

At 130-4, with plenty of overs to go and needing not much more than 3 runs an over to win, Red Star shot themselves in the foot and handed back the momentum to Whanganui. Any chance of a victory evaporated with the loss of Anderson’s wicket in a needless runout.

Captain and wicketkeeper Nathan Elliot said the loss summed up the season generally.

“We have been in good positions to win, only to throw it away. Jeremy batted really well and had an excellent partnership with Dion Knight. We should have kicked on from there. We probably should have restricted them to about 30 runs less as well.”

“The runout kind of typified our season today. There was a dropped catch, but no call from either batsman, who were probably ball-watching. That hurt”

Red Star has missed the work of Stefan Hook in recent weeks. His bowling figures and batting stats have regularly anchored the side and his numbers have been hard to replicate since he was injured out for the reason a few weeks ago.

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