Paraparaumu players celebrate the wicket of Red Star’s Jake Jonas in the 2020-21 Coastal Challenge. The two teams will meet in the opening round of T20 games on Saturday. PHOTOS/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

T20 and two-day games will feature for the first time in a new-look Coastal Challenge season starting on Saturday.

The competition, featuring Wairarapa, Horowhenua-Kapiti, and Whanganui clubs, previously consisted of one-day 50-over games and finished in early February, allowing each of the associations to run their respective championships in late February and March.

But the lack of quality premier teams in the three districts has resulted in an expanded competition format which will stretch into late March.

As in two of the three seasons that Wairarapa have played in the competition, the district will be represented by Burger King Red Star, and United – a combined team based around the Lansdowne, Greytown, and Masterton Marist clubs.

The Coastal Challenge will kick off with two days of T20s over the next two weekends. The eight teams have been split into two pools, with the first two rounds played on Saturday in Masterton and Whanganui.

United’s Jared van Deventer playing a shot against Red Star last year. The teams will play a two-day match for the Bidwill Cup during the Coastal Challenge.

United and Red Star will each play Kapiti Old Boys and three-time champions Paraparaumu in the doubleheader on the artificial pitches at Park Sports Ground and Wairarapa College.

The first-round games will start noon, with the second round at 3.30pm.

Whanganui United, Whanganui Marist, Levin Old Boys, and Weraroa will play their opening two games in Whanganui.

The eight teams will then converge on Levin on Labour Weekend for the final round of pool matches with the winners of each pool to meet in the final.

Two-day games will form the second part of the season. Red Star and United will play over two Saturdays in November in a knockout match.

The winners will play the winners of the game between the two Whanganui sides for a place in the final against the top Horowhenua-Kapiti side in early January.

With the demise of the Wairarapa premier grade, the winners of the Red Star-United fixture will lift the prestigious Bidwill Cup.

The traditional Coastal Challenge championship of 50-over one-day games will start on the last weekend of January and run for two months.

Each team play seven round-robin games, and the top four progress to the semifinals to be hosted by the top two qualifiers.

The semifinal winners meet in the final at the home venue of the highest-seeded winners.

A feature of the Wairarapa club season is the absence from the Umpires Cup of the Rathkeale First XI, who have won two of the past three championships.

The school will concentrate on interschool fixtures, allowing their better players to experience a higher level of competition in the Coastal Challenge. Jake Jonas appeared for Red Star, and Andrew Taylor and Hunter Wyeth played for United last season.

Nine teams will line up in the Umpires Cup, with two each from Lansdowne and Greytown.

Red Star, Marist, Carterton, the Rathkeale Second XI, and Kuranui, who have entered a team in the senior competitions for the first time in many years, make up the competition.

The teams play a round-robin of 40-over games before splitting into a top four and bottom five, with the competitions to conclude in March.

T20’s popularity continues to grow with 14 teams to line up in the Wairarapa competition, scheduled to start in early December.



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