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Waicol ready for nationals

The Wairarapa College First XI girls’ cricket team with their medals from the Central Districts finals. Back row from left: Esther Lanser [coach], Kayarna Jones-Dennes, Ella Southey, Annissa Greenlees, Charlize Carson-Butler, Belle Clark, Amy Fitzgerald, Eva Wootton, Beth Pottinger [manager]. Front row from left: Olivia Horsbrugh, Tahlia Jones-Dennes, Olivia Roseingrave, Caitlin Elliott [c], Sian Wheeler, Jessica Roseingrave. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JAKE BELESKI
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The Wairarapa College First XI girls’ cricket team was to have one last hit-out to put everything in place before they head to the national secondary school T20 finals in Christchurch.

Yesterday, they were to take on St Matthew’s Collegiate, before heading to Christchurch on Sunday.

Waicol represented Wairarapa at the Central Districts finals in Palmerston North earlier this month and won the tournament after two nail-biting matches.

In Christchurch, they will play six T20 matches across three days against regional winners from Auckland, Northern Districts, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.

Coach Esther Lanser said the team had been building nicely towards their goal of making a big impression in Christchurch.

“The girls are creating a team culture that is really positive and supportive, and that’s really important when you’re travelling for a tournament and coming up against teams that will be very strong.

“They know to turn the page when they make a mistake, and support each other and back each other up.

“That’s something we’ve talked about a lot and we’ve been putting into practice, which has been really good.”

Lanser said there were plenty of pieces that would need to fall into place for the team to be successful, but they had put particular emphasis on their fielding skills in the lead-up to the tournament.

“Batting, bowling and fielding are obviously really important, and we’ve put quite a lot of focus on the fielding,” she said.

“The batting and the bowling largely takes care of itself, but we’d like to go down there and be the best fielding team at the tournament.”

The match with St Matthew’s Collegiate would be vital to ensure they head into the tournament with confidence in their systems, she said.

“We’ll be looking to put a performance out on the field that the girls can use to build confidence before they go to nationals, and if they do that they will know they deserve to be there and will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Lanser was happy for her team to grab the underdog tag before the tournament, but she was optimistic about what her team could achieve if they get it right.

“We’ll definitely carry the underdog tag.

“I think there’s only two co-ed schools going and we’re probably the smallest, so we’ll be going as the underdogs but absolutely fighting and giving it everything down there.”

Lanser said the community had rallied behind the team, and they were grateful for the sponsorship they had received from Lanser Grant Engineering, Wairarapa College Sports Foundation, Wairarapa Cricket Association, Just Jeans, Lonestar, Pita Pit, New World, Trust House, Wairarapa Education Sports Trust, Kilbirnie Sports, PGG Wrightson, G & C Diggers, Greenlees Print, Fagan Motors and Mike van Woerkom.

It will be a whirlwind few days for the team once they arrive in Christchurch, but if things go to plan they could return as national champions.

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