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The top 21 over 21 years

The 2020 Dalefield team discuss tactics at halftime. The team completed an unbeaten season. PHOTO/FILE

With covid-19 restrictions denying any sporting activity in Wairarapa, it’s time for CHRIS COGDALE to wheel out his 21 top achievers of the last 21 years, starting today with numbers 15-21.

21 – Wairarapa Cricket 2011-12

Wairarapa’s challenges for NZ Cricket’s premier trophy, the Hawke Cup, are as rare as a cliché-free Jacinda Ardern press conference.

The 2011-12 team earned the opportunity by winning the Zone Two playoffs, heading off powerhouse districts Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, and Taranaki.

The team had been boosted by the return of experienced first-class all-rounder Greg Todd to the region after several years away, and the emergence of future international medium-fast bowler Seth Rance.

Unfortunately for Wairarapa, Todd was named in the Central Stags side for the national one-day final [although he was 12th man], and Rance was injured early in the challenge against Hamilton, who fielded close to a first-class Northern Districts side and comfortably retained the trophy.

20 – Rocco Berry

Rocco Berry pushes off a Raiders defender in the Warriors loss to Canberra on Friday night. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Maybe a little bit out of left field, but the son of former All Black Marty Berry is already carving out a successful career with the NZ Warriors.

Berry was a star fullback in secondary school rugby, but he turned his back on the 15-man code and signed with the Warriors in 2019, despite never having played rugby league.

It took only two NRL games to convince the Warriors he was heading for stardom, and the club extended Berry’s contract until the end of 2024.

Injuries have limited Berry’s NRL appearances, in which he has already scored three tries playing at centre.

Look out for Berry in Kiwi colours in the not-too-distant future.

19 – Dalefield Premier Men’s Hockey

Dalefield had been playing in the Wellington premier competition since the early-mid-1990s but were perennial battlers. They were regularly placed in the bottom half of the league, and often faced promotion-relegation matches to retain their premier status.

That all changed in 2015, when several of Wairarapa’s promising players who had left the region for university and work, including future Black Stick Dane Lett, and U21 international triallists Trent Lett and Benedict van Woerkom, returned.

There were immediate dividends as Dalefield won their first title, beating Indians in the final. Further titles came in 2016, 2019, and 2020, with Dalefield featuring in six consecutive finals.

18 – Dalefield Premier Women’s Hockey

The Dalefield women only pip their male counterparts because they came from total oblivion to win the 2016 Wellington premier championship.

Dalefield had won the 2004 title but later dropped out of the Wellington leagues, when they returned in 2016, early indications were that they would have to work their way up to the top grade starting at premier three level. However, they jumped at the chance to play in the elite competition when another club had to withdraw.

Dalefield went on to beat Eastern Hutt in the final in a shootout. They went back-to-back in 2017 and won further titles in 2020 and 2021.

Melissa Hansen bowling for the Wairarapa Korus.

17 – Melissa Hansen

Melissa Hansen brought up her 50th one-day appearance for the Central Hinds in the 2020-21 season and is on the brink of achieving her century of games.

She has played 56 one-day games and 43 T20 games for the Hinds since she made her debut in the 2013-14 season.

An all-rounder, Hansen has often played a vital role as a lower batsman, and as an economical medium pace bowler. In one-dayers she has scored 448 runs with a top score of 62, while she has taken 37 wickets at an average of 30.05, with a best of 4-29. In the unpredictable T20 format, she has a high score of 31no, and best bowling of 2-15.

Hansen was a member of the Hinds team that won NZ Cricket’s premier women’s trophy, the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield, beating Auckland in the 2019 final.

16 – Felicity Reidy

Felicity Reidy, playing for Dalefield, represented NZ in seven internationals in 2016.

Felicity Reidy’s international hockey career covered seven games for the Black Sticks in 2016, but it includes a rare series win over Australia. After losing the first test 6-0, the Black Sticks won the second test 2-0 and the third test 3-2.

Before featuring at the elite level, Reidy represented New Zealand at under-21 level.

In 2019, Reidy played her 50th game for the Capital Cobras in the national league, and in 2020 she was part of the Central Falcons who won the inaugural national premier league.

Reidy has also achieved the rare feat of being part of the winning team in the Wellington Premier Women’s Championship, in 2018 and 2019 with Harbour City, and in 2020 and 2021 with Dalefield.

15 – Greg Todd

Greg Todd batting for Auckland in 2010. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Greg Todd made his first-class cricket debut for Central Districts in the 2000-1 season but struggled to nail down a permanent spot in the team.

The talented left-hand bat and right arm medium pace bowler moved south to Otago, where he played for six seasons. He later played for Auckland and finished his career with Central Districts, before moving to Melbourne.

In a first-class career spanning 64 games Todd scored 3368 runs at an average of 34.02, with a high score of 165. In 68 one day games he scored 1468 runs at 27.69, with a career best 95.

A highlight of Todd’s career were centuries in both innings of a first-class game for Otago against Wellington at the Basin Reserve.

Todd played for Wairarapa in the 2011-12 season and was instrumental in the team winning the right to challenge for the Hawke Cup.

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