Post Office Hotel Wairarapa have an outside chance of winning a Hawke Cup challenge after their determined first-innings victory over Horowhenua-Kapiti [HK] in Levin over the weekend.
In a high-scoring two-day Furlong Cup fixture on a Donnelly Park pitch described by Wairarapa coach Mark Childs as an “absolute road”, the home side posted a useful 356, only for Wairarapa to pass that total in the final session on Sunday and declare at 419–6 once veteran Jaco Vorster, batting at number seven, notched his second century for the district.
The platform for the big score, though, was set at the top of the order, led by opener and captain Robbie Anderson, who was unlucky not to post his second ton for Wairarapa, caught in the deep for 97 when he smashed a short ball only to pick out the sole fielder on the leg side.
Anderson’s score has him lying second on the run-scoring charts for the Furlong Cup, just 27 runs behind Manawatu’s Mason Hughes.
Anderson and loan player Taylor Bettelheim had given the side a solid start with an opening stand of 63 and looked like they would go into the second day with all wickets intact when Bettelheim was bowled in the last over from Zack Benton with a ripper of a delivery and one of the only balls that seamed throughout the match.
The skipper and Jake Jonas set the tone for the second day, batting throughout the morning session, adding 130 runs before Jonas was dismissed for 60.
A mini collapse followed, with four wickets falling for 35 runs, leaving Wairarapa perilously placed.
Up-stepped 20-year-old Mark Steventon and veteran all-rounder Vorster, and the pair took the game away from HK with a brilliant 135-run sixth wicket partnership to secure the valuable four batting bonus points and first innings points.
Steventon, who always had plenty of potential as a high-scoring batter for Wairarapa College, had played little cricket since leaving school, but his more regular game time paid off with a sublime innings of 77, and his effort thrilled Childs.
“Stevo didn’t get picked last year because he wasn’t playing cricket, and it’s hard to compare the innings; they were all valuable, but that was probably the best innings out of the lot,” Childs said.
“Jaco was typical Jaco – a little bit scratchy early on, but his game plan was to get to 30 balls and still be out there and then once he hit a big bomb for six, he was away and then never looked like getting out from then, and that was another fantastic knock.
“Those guys were under pressure when we were five down, but they just took the game away from them.”
As soon as Vorster brought up his century, Anderson declared, completing a satisfying trip to Levin.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team, just the way they applied themselves batting, but fresh up after the break, the bowlers struggled to hit their lengths consistently on an absolute road of a wicket with a good outfield,” Childs said.
“One of the keys that in the past, when Wairarapa have been in the field for like 95 overs and then go into bat, we tend to be three or four down at stumps, but the little partnership at the end of day one, and then in the morning, Robbie and Jake batted through that whole first session, and I don’t think I’ve seen that before from a Wairarapa team and there wasn’t even one appeal, they just applied themselves superbly.”
Childs also had special praise for former Black Cap Seth Rance, who bowled 22 overs and took three wickets in his first serious hit-out since recovering from major shoulder surgery.
Wairarapa picked up 12 points from the match but just missed taking the full haul of bowling points, with the ninth wicket falling one ball too late, off the first ball of the 91st over.
That leaves them 13 points behind Manawatu. meaning they will need first innings and an outright and at least six bonus points over Hawke’s Bay this weekend to pass Manawatu and earn the district’s first Hawke Cup challenge since 2012.
Wairarapa’s total of 419–6 is believed to be the first time in 20 years that the team has posted 400 runs. On that occasion, Wairarapa posted 468 to beat Nelson, who scored 457.
Meanwhile, Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus coach Simon Roseingrave was disappointed with what he said was a “very average performance” in being totally outplayed by Taranaki in their Shrimpton Trophy clash with Taranaki at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval on Sunday.
The Korus could only muster 116 runs, a target which Taranaki chased down within 26 overs, an effort that Roseingrave described as the team being in almost holiday mode.
“For most of the team, the last fixture was in early December, and we went into the game cold,” Roseingrave said.
“Complete performances are beyond us because we get ourselves out – only one or two were dismissed by good bowling – which was really disappointing when we still had 10 overs left, and the run rate was never an issue.”
He said there were some positives with Liz Cohr and Olivia Roseingrave bowling well and one of the debutants, Dina Morrison, looking the goods with the bat and playing a couple of beautiful shots in her 10 runs.
Horowhenua-Kapiti 356 [Kelsey Fahey 76, Prabodha Arthavidu Ellawala Liyanage 57, Daniel Browne 42, Jayden Rose-Miles 49, Tristan Cloete 39; Seth Rance 3–58, Taylor Bettelheim 3–57, James Church 2–50] drew with Wairarapa 419–6 decl. [Jaco Vorster 100no, Robbie Anderson 97, Mark Steventon 77, jake Jonas 60, Bettelheim 40; Zack Benton 3-80, Keegan McLachlan 3-91]. Wairarapa won on the first innings.
Furlong cup standings
Manawatu 50, Hawke’s Bay 42, Taranaki 41, Wairarapa 37, Horowhenua-Kapiti 26, Whanganui 23.