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Semifinal race heats up

A win over Weraroa this afternoon should lock in a Coastal Challenge semifinal for Burger King Red Star,

In a compressed points table, only seven points separate top from bottom in the seven-team competition, with Red Star second on nett run rate on 11 points and Levin-based Weraroa in joint last place on six points.

With four points for a win plus a bonus point for a winning margin of 125 per cent or greater, all seven teams remain in the hunt for the top four with two rounds to play.

A win would almost guarantee Red Star a playoff spot, while a bonus point victory could position them strongly to push for home advantage. A loss, though, could place Red Star in danger of missing the semifinals.

On the face of it, Red Star should start warm favourites to score their fourth win and secure a semifinal spot. Still, captain Jeremy Anderson is taking nothing for granted against a side which includes Horowhenua-Kāpiti representatives, top-order batter Prabodha Arthavidu Ellawala Liyanage, quick-scoring middle-order batter Kelsey Fahey, and off-spinner Keegan Maclachlan, and former representative medium pacer Jaedyn Dawson.

“They haven’t had great results this year, but they’re not far away, and they’ve got some good cricketers. If we can get Artha and Kelsey cheaply, that’s probably the key for them,” Anderson said.

Of concern for Anderson is Red Star’s batting after below-par efforts in their last two games, in particular being rolled for 119 in their first loss of the championship to Kāpiti Old Boys at Sky Stadium, Wellington, last Saturday.

Trey Bidois stood out like a shining beacon with 44 in the loss to Kāpiti, and Anderson reckoned the other players must follow his example.

“We probably need to be more disciplined than we were last week and adjust to the conditions, which we didn’t do very well; that’s probably the key to it,” Anderson said.

“We’ve definitely got a batting lineup that is good enough.”

Red Star will be without two of their most experienced players, opening batter Robbie Anderson and all-rounder George Deans. That will see the captain step into the opening role with Quinn Childs.

In the bowling department, Anderson feels the seam attack could be a bowler short. Peter Sigvertsen, Ethan Childs, and Paddy Wootton will share the medium-pace duties with possible support from Mark Steventon. Quinn Childs, Zach Anstis, Bidois and Shamal Parera offer plenty of spin options and could play a vital role if the Queen Elizabeth Park Oval pitch shows signs of wear and inconsistency nearing the end of a long season.

Play in today’s 50-over aside clash is scheduled to begin at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval at 12 midday.

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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