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Wairarapa second in Evergreens

Wairarapa won the Chee Trophy at the National Evergreens tournament. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Chris Cogdale

Wairarapa overcame a late withdrawal and injuries and finished runners-up at the National Evergreens Softball tournament played in Nelson on Friday and Saturday.

Wairarapa were a dealt a blow before the start of the tournament with the influential Gordon Wilmshurst not travelling with the team due to a family bereavement.

That left the side with 13 players for the tournament for players aged 35 and over.

Combined Services were their first opponent and Wairarapa made no race of it cruising to a 16-0 win.

Second up, Wairarapa faced Nelson and they had to work hard to come away with an 8-7 victory.

A win over Tauranga in their last group match would give Wairarapa top seeding for the playoffs and they achieved that winning a tight match 7-5.

In Saturday morning’s quarterfinal, Wairarapa defeated Hawke’s Bay 10-3 to set up a semifinal with Rotorua.

Up against the team described by team member Chris Feary as the toughest they played, Wairarapa prevailed 2-0 and progressed to the final against Canterbury.

However, the effects of five tough games over two days took their toll with niggling injuries, especially to starting pitcher Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana, impacting on the team, and Canterbury walked away with a 7-2 victory.

Despite not coming home with the major prize, Feary said the team could be proud of their results.

“To come second out of 16 provinces is a huge achievement. We only have a player pool of maybe 13, all from one club, and we’re punching well above our weight,” he said.

The second placing comes after a third at last year’s tournament and first-equal with Southland in 2018. It is the fourth time Wairarapa has filled the runners-up spot and they bring home the Chee Trophy.

There was good news back home for the Giants club though with the Under 13s defeating Stokes Valley to qualify for the Hutt Valley final.

The Under 15s lost their semifinal to Dodgers and the Major B Women were beaten by Hutt City United.

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