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Tough ask, but Wairarapa up for it

Coach Mark Childs believes there is the talent in the Post Office Hotel Wairarapa side to make an impact at the Chapple Cup tournament starting in Palmerston North tomorrow.

Wairarapa have drawn a tricky first-up opponent, Nelson, for the Central Districts one-day championship, and the first-year coach agrees that “it will be a difficult ask, first-up” but is confident his players are up for the challenge.

“It’s a really good side, and if you look at it on paper, there’s a lot of talent in there, the batting goes deep, and there are plenty of bowling options,” Childs said.

“We’ve trained well all season and put the work in, and hopefully, we’ll do all those little things right.

“If we can be consistent in our bowling, and obviously in one-day cricket, you have to look at your variations as well, and bowling to the field, so the guys have invested into that and are well-prepared and organised with their plans.

“Batting, we probably have to look at going fairly hard early with the length of our batting lineup and try and get off to a fast start, and whoever gets in, hopefully, they can bat deep, and we can build partnerships around that.”

Captain Robbie Anderson and loan player Taylor Bettelheim will open the batting, with Jake Jonas the likely anchor coming in at first drop, followed by the stroke makers Mark Steventon, Jaco Vorster, Seth Rance, and Samuel Payne in the middle order, and some useful batters in the lower order.

Apart from rare failures in Burger King Red Star’s Coastal Challenge win over Levin Old Boys, Anderson, Jonas, and Steventon have been in fine form with the bat, while Payne brings scintillating form, having smashed 193no [off 80 balls, featuring 18 fours and 12 sixes] for Wairarapa College in their win over a Wellington College side last Saturday.

Steventon, in particular, has impressed Childs, who feels that the 19-year-old’s cricket has come on leaps and bounds since he fell back in love with the game.

“Early in the season, Mark didn’t play a lot of cricket, and he was told to play as much as you can, score as many runs, play your natural game. He’s very controlled at the crease in what he’s doing, and he’s worked his game out, and you only have to look at him in the nets, and it’s like a shotgun coming off that blade.”

Wairarapa’s bowling attack will be spearheaded by former Black Cap Seth Rance, who, in his prime, was arguably the best white ball bowler in New Zealand, and despite the veteran not being 100 per cent with some niggling injuries, Childs expects him to pose a threat.

“He’s actually got an elbow injury at the moment, and it’s pretty painful, but being the professional he is and with all the experience, I’m sure he’ll look after his body, and he won’t be at full pace, but that won’t matter, because if he can swing it and move it around hopefully we can knock the top off their batting and put the pressure on them,” he said.

Ethan Childs, George Deans, Jonas, Vorster, Payne, and Jack Wakeling make up the seam bowling attack, while left-arm spinner Quinn Childs, leg spinner Bettelheim, and off-spinner Trey Bidois are the slow bowling options.

Wakeling will miss tomorrow’s game due to work but will join the squad, along with backup seam bowler Shamal Perera, for Saturday and Sunday.

Childs is uncertain what Nelson will bring, but with the likes of Central Stags veteran Greg Hay and the Zohrab twins Thomas and David, he expects them to have a strong batting lineup and a balanced side.

    Tomorrow’s match is scheduled to start at 10.30am at Manawaroa Number 3.

Wairarapa team for Chapple Cup:

Robbie Anderson [captain], Taylor Bettelheim, Jake Jonas, Mark Steventon, Jaco Vorster, Seth Rance, Samuel Payne, Nathan Elliott, George Deans, Quinn Childs, Trey Bidois, Ethan Childs. Jack Wakeling and Shamal Perera – Saturday and Sunday.

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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