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Wairarapa punching well above their weight

Big hitter Brock Price … heading across the ditch to work. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa Cricket continues to outperform many other bigger districts.

With 1049 registered players, solid team performances at representative level and several players competing well at higher levels of the game, operations manager Simon Roseingrave said Wairarapa Cricket is in a good space.

Among Roseingrave’s highlights of the season were the efforts of the senior representative teams, with the Highmark Homes Wairarapa men’s fourth in a competitive Furlong Cup a standout this season.

“Having first innings wins over Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay in the Hawke Cup, that’s a rare season when that happens,” he said.

“Neil Perry is very encouraging as a coach and creates a good competitive team culture and something which people want to be part of which is really, really good.”

“Obviously news that Brock Price is taking up a job in Australia is a shame somewhat and he’ll be a big loss in the middle of the top order.

“But then you look at the likes of Andy Dodd moving back to the region and wanting to be involved, then it’s looking positive for the future,” Roseingrave said.

Wairarapa Cricket operations manager Simon Roseingrave. PHOTO/FILE

Roseingrave coached the Southey Sayer Wairarapa Korus to second in the Mike Shrimpton Trophy and third in the Lower North Island series.

“In the lower North Island series, they were only one wicket [v Wellington A] and one run [v Taranaki] away from winning all three of their games,” he said.

“The only game they were really weak was against Hawke’s Bay.”

The representative success led to several players representing Central Districts.

Seam bowler Stefan Hook made his first class debut for the Stags against Wellington at the Basin Reserve.

“Stefan’s been bowling rapid, impressing a number of people with his pace and I think that really shone through in the Bidwill Cup final when he took 14 wickets and some of the Lansdowne players found him almost unplayable.

“He played well for Wairarapa and deserved his chance,” Roseingrave said.

However, the Central Stags’ season was a mixed bag for Wairarapa’s Seth Rance.

The pace bowler struggled with a niggly Achilles strain, and his season came to an abrupt end in February when he tore a hamstring.

Wairarapa was also well represented in the Central Hinds, with seam bowlers Melissa Hansen and Monique Rees, and spin bowler Georgia Atkinson.

Rosiengrave said Hansen had a breakthrough season.

“Her confidence levels grew and she became more accustomed to her roles at that level and I think it will lead to bigger and better things,” he said.

“Monique wasn’t that far behind. She had a very good season for the Hinds and the Korus when she was able to play.

“Georgia had a knee injury at the beginning of the season and struggled through, but we know what potential she’s got,” he said.

Roseingrave saidd the emergence of Burger King Red Star as a force in the Coastal Challenge, involving teams from Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kapiti, and Wanganui, was also a boost for the district.

“After getting the wooden spoon the year before, to finish top four was fantastic, and they were highly competitive.

“That fed through into local club cricket and in the Bidwill Cup they were dominant,” he said.

“There has been talk of Masterton Marist and Greytown wanting to be involved and maybe Rathkeale, and is something that we want to encourage because it does help to develop the players.”

Other highlights for Roseingrave were the St Matthew’s First XI finishing third at the Gillette Venus Cup secondary schoolgirl finals, and the St Matthew’s junior side qualifying for the national primary schoolgirls’ finals.

This season, Wairarapa Cricket introduced a women’s T20 franchise competition, played among four teams during the week.

Roseingrave said the players said they absolutely loved the competition.

“For those who came back from university with no cricket to play it fitted in with their needs really nicely, and there were quite a few of the more mature age group who got involved and we believe it will get bigger and better.”

One concern was the drop in numbers of players from primary schools to secondary schools and Roseingrave said they tried to be innovative.

“We tried a few things. We introduced more T20 cricket and even dropping some of the grades to nine-a-side.

“It was only a six-week competition and one of those was wiped out with this coronavirus, so it’s hard to gauge what impact it has had,” he said.

“It’s a problem across the codes to get secondary students active.”

At junior level, Roseingrave said there hadn’t been a drastic increase or drop off in numbers.

“We are a limited population in Wairarapa, but with more than 1000 listed cricketers for the third season in a row, and with around half of those junior cricketers, for a district of our size to have those numbers is fantastic.”

“We have much more players on the field than other similar sized areas.”

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