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Vital game for Red Star

Stefan Hook, right, scored 84 against United. PHOTO/FILE


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Burger King Red Star face one of their sternest challenges today in their quest for a top-four finish in the Coastal Challenge Championship.

Red Star host 2019-20 champions Levin Old Boys at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval, in a game that could see the winners take a big step towards nailing down a spot in the semifinals.

With two of the three rounds abandoned and with only four rounds to play, three wins, or possibly two, could be enough to qualify for the playoffs.

Both teams started with bonus-point victories. Red Star beat fellow Wairarapa side United by 127 runs, and Levin had a 134-run defeat of Coastal Challenge two-day champions Kapiti Old Boys.

Red Star’s winning total of 301-4 was built on a brilliant 115-run opening partnership between Robbie Anderson [51] and Jake Jonas [77] and a superb 84 by captain Stefan Hook.

Although Jonas has since moved to university, the two-time semifinalists can still boast a useful batting line-up.

Nathan Elliott, Jeremy Anderson, Mark Steventon, and Nathan Chaney are also capable of scoring big runs at a rapid rate when necessary.

“The batting was my big concern,” said Hook, “but we’ve got all our batters available, so there’s no excuse not to put up a big score against them, or hopefully chase down whatever they get.”

However, the bowling attack has taken a hit, with the loss of Jonas, the unavailability of veteran medium-pacer Peter Sigvertsen, and promising Rathkeale seam bowler James Church, who has a college cricket commitment.

Much of the responsibility to quell Levin’s dangerous batters will fall on strike bowler Hook’s shoulders.

He said he would have to be creative using the rest of the attack, likely to include spin bowlers Ojaz Patel, Jeremy Anderson, and possibly Zac Guildford, and medium-pacers Robbie Anderson and Steventon.

“They’re one of those teams, who if they get going, they can score quite quickly, so I’ll be looking to take early wickets to take the sting out of them.”

Openers Dion Sanson and Jamie Pinfold, who also open for Horowhenua-Kapiti at representative level, showed how dangerous they could be when they punished the Wairarapa bowlers in last month’s Furlong Cup match.

The pair put on 50 runs in six overs, with Sanson going on to post 111 off 99 balls, as Horowhenua-Kapiti chased down an unlikely 278 in less than 36 overs.

Another representative player Bailey Te Tomo and former rep Matthew Good are others Hook is keen to see back in the pavilion early, and if they can achieve that, a second win from two outings is on the cards.

The other concern for Hook is the lack of cricket because of rain and the region’s withdrawal from the Chapple Cup last weekend.

“It feels like we haven’t played for months. I’m not as confident as I would like to be. I’m confident that when we play our best cricket we can beat any side – but really we just haven’t played much of our best cricket.”

Disappointingly, Red Star will be the only Wairarapa team in action today. United defaulted their game against Weraroa because they only had four players available to travel to Levin.

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